Rumor: Holdup in PTT OH Cracker Final Decision Due to Labor Rate

Every now and again we traffic in rumors here on MDN, but we do so rarely and only when we trust the source of the rumor. We such a rumor to share, from a source we trust implicitly. We’ve been carping for over a year that PTT Global Chemical has repeatedly violated our deep well of patience by hinting that a “final investment decision” (FID) is “coming soon” for their $7-$10 billion ethane cracker complex in Belmont County, OH (see Still No Ohio Cracker Announcement, Preparations Continue). We now know why the FID is tardy.
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Tree Clearing Begins at PTT Cracker Site in Belmont County, OH

As we keep pointing out, PTT Global Chemical, the company that says they want to build a $6 billion ethane cracker plant complex in Belmont County, OH, keeps hinting that a “final investment decision” (FID) will come soon. Any day now. Just around the corner. They’ve been saying it for nearly two years.
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List of 16 Marcellus/Utica Gas Processing Plants

Our favorite government agency, the U.S. Energy Information Administration, published a post yesterday on the topic of “U.S. natural gas processing plant capacity and throughput have increased in recent years.” In that post EIA links to a handy dandy online tool that lists all of the active natural gas processing plants operating in the U.S. We used the tool to download all of the plants in PA, OH and WV, and further trimmed out the low volume (conventional only) processing plants, leaving a list of sweet 16 Marcellus/Utica processing plants–where they are located and how much they process.
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Still No Ohio Cracker Announcement, Preparations Continue

PTT Global Chemical has made and broken so many promises about the timing of a decision to build a $6 (lately cited as $10) billion ethane cracker in Belmont County, we’ve lost track of the number broken deadlines. Don’t get us wrong. We still hope and believe the project will happen, but we’ve grown weary of the delays in an announcement. And we don’t even live in the region!
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Methanol Plants Huge Users of Marcellus/Utica Gas

US Methanol broke ground in September 2017 in Institute (Kanawha County), WV to build its very first methanol production plant (see US Methanol Breaks Ground on First Plant in West Virginia). Methanol plants convert natural gas into methanol, used as a chemical feedstock (raw material) to create other things, like gasoline, antifreeze, plastic bottles–even LED and LCD screens. Methanol plants use a LOT of natural gas, hence our interest.
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Exclusive: 2nd LNG Operation Coming to Wyalusing, PA

On Tuesday we brought you an update about New Fortress Energy’s LNG plant planned for Wylausing (Bradford County), PA (see Wyalusing, PA LNG Export Plant Making Progress). In researching that story we stumbled across news that (so far) nobody else has published: There is a second LNG plant planned for Wyalusing. In fact, the second plant is under construction right now!
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Smith Twp Residents Say They Have Enough Processing Plants

A single township in Washington County, PA, Smith Township, is home to two “sprawling” shale gas complexes that process and separate Marcellus/Utica gas extracted in southwestern Pennsylvania. One is MarkWest Energy’s Harmon Creek complex, and the other Energy Transfer’s Revolution complex. Area residents think they have quite enough infrastructure and are asking town officials to throttle back new development.
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Wyalusing, PA LNG Export Plant Making Progress

Last November MDN brought you the exciting news that New Fortress Energy is planning to build an LNG (liquefied natural gas) liquefaction EXPORT plant in landlocked Wyalusing (Bradford County), PA (see Big News! Marcellus LNG Export Plant Coming to Landlocked NEPA). What’s happening with the $800 million project? Anything?
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PA Enviro Hearing Board Rejects Air Permit for Marcus Hook

Marcus Hook complex (credit: Wikipedia)

Score a minor victory for the odious Philadelphia Clean Air Council in their fight to block any/all fossil fuel projects any/everywhere. They’ve convinced the PA Environmental Hearing Board to question a previously issued air quality permit for the Marcus Hook refinery in Delaware County, near Philadelphia.
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MarkWest Plant Explosion in Washington Co. Injures 4; 1 Critical

An explosion and fire last night around 6 pm at the MarkWest Energy natural gas processing plant in Chartiers (Washington County), PA sent four people to the hospital–carried there by helicopter. All of them remain hospitalized, and one of them is, sadly, in critical condition. The explosion happened near “two temporary tanks that were onsite for routine maintenance,” according to a MarkWest statement. The tanks hold, “liquid ethylene glycol plus hydrocarbons”–used to clean incoming raw natural gas. The PA Dept. of Environmental Protection is on location today to determine what happened and why–and to ensure there have been no negative impacts to the environment.
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Small but Determined Group Wants to Block Ohio Cracker Plant

Last week the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency held an information session (to give out info) along with a public hearing (to accept comments) on the draft air pollution permit for PTT Global Chemical’s proposed ethane cracker plant complex in Belmont County, OH (see Ohio EPA to Hold Air Permit Hearing for PTT Cracker Nov. 27). Some 100 or so people turned up for the hearing, according to media accounts. Perhaps 35 people spoke during the public comment period. There were both supporters and detractors. We suppose we knew there were folks opposed to the project, but this is really the first time we’ve read about an organized effort to stop the project. That effort comes from the usual (irrational) anti-fossil fuel suspects who oppose all drilling, pipelines, and anything else to do with fossil fuels.
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Ohio EPA to Hold Water Permit Hearing for PTT Cracker Dec. 12

Still no sign from PTT Global Chemical that they will announce a final decision to proceed with building a $6 billion ethane cracker in Belmont County, OH, by the end of this year. The project was first announced in April 2015 (see It’s Official: Belmont County Chosen as POSSIBLE Cracker Plant Site). Since that time, PTT has purchased land, paid $100 million to get the cracker facility designed, and repeatedly said a final investment decision (FID) is imminent. It’s been imminent for more than two years now.
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New Fortress Energy Building Second PA LNG Export Facility

Earlier this month MDN brought you the exciting news that New Fortress Energy (NFE) is planning to build an LNG (liquefied natural gas) liquefaction plant in Wyalusing (Bradford County), PA in order to export Marcellus gas (see Big News! Marcellus LNG Export Plant Coming to Landlocked NEPA). The $800 million plant will supercool and liquefy locally extracted Marcellus Shale gas and ship it first by truck, eventually by rail, to “customers in the U.S. as well as abroad.” NFE recently filed a Securities and Exchange Commission document called an S-1. In that filing, we learn some dynamite news: NFE is working on a *second* Pennsylvania LNG facility! Not only that, but they have plans to build another 5-10 such facilities over the next five years–although we don’t know if all of those will be in the Marcellus/Utica. Something else we learned in the S-1 is how NFE plans to export the LNG they produce in Wyalusing to other countries.
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FERC Grants Favorable EIS to Jacksonville, FL LNG Export Facility

Click for larger version

Is there a connection between a new LNG export facility on the East Coast, all the way down in Jacksonville, Florida, and the Marcellus/Utica? Indeed there is! In January 2017, Eagle LNG filed an application with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to build a new LNG export facility at a site on the St. Johns River in Jacksonville. The LNG produced at the facility will be transported to markets in the Caribbean and Latin America for power generation, and also delivered to local and regional markets, including marine bunkering and high horsepower applications–LNG used right here at home. Last Friday FERC issued a favorable draft environmental impact statement (DEIS) for the project, which means FERC plans to grant final approval. Below we connect the dots for how Marcellus/Utica gas will be some of the gas feeding this new plant.
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Ohio EPA to Hold Air Permit Hearing for PTT Cracker Nov. 27

PTT Global Chemical announced in April 2015 they want to build a $6 billion ethane cracker plant complex in Belmont County, OH (see It’s Official: Belmont County Chosen as POSSIBLE Cracker Plant Site). Since that time, PTT has purchased land, paid $100 million to get the cracker facility designed, and repeatedly said a final investment decision (FID) is imminent. It’s been imminent for more than two years now. Belmont County officials recently said the decision is coming “by the end of this year” (see Belmont, OH Leaders Say PTT Cracker Decision Coming This Year). But we’ve read comments by others who say the decision won’t happen until sometime next year (see Rumblings that PTT Will Once Again Delay OH Cracker Decision). We finally have some signs of life that a decision is, indeed, coming soon.
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