EQT Stops Fracking After Worker Gets COVID-19; Suspends Dividends

The Pittsburgh Business Times is reporting that a contractor working in EQT’s hydraulic fracturing (“completions”) operation who last worked at a site in Belmont County, OH has tested positive for COVID-19 coronavirus. Because that worker has been in contact with a number of other workers in EQT’s completions unit, the company has temporarily shut down all completions (fracking) operations. In a separate and unrelated announcement, EQT told investors they are (for now) suspending quarterly dividend payments and will use the money instead to pay down near-term debt.
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Company Asks to Build 2 New Injection Wells in Belmont County, OH

Kirkwood Twp, Belmont County, OH

Tri-State Environmental has filed for permits to build two new brine (i.e. shale wastewater) injection wells in Kirkwood Township, Belmont County, Ohio. Meanwhile, another new injection well planned for Belmont (Omni Energy), which we told you about last summer (see Belmont County Injection Well Plan Stirs Opposition from Coal Co.), continues to make progress.
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PTT Says Work at Future Cracker Site to Temporarily Slow/Stop

Last week MDN told you that PTT Global Chemical’s CEO signalled that a final investment decision (FID) on whether (or not) to build a multi-billion dollar ethane cracker in Belmont County, OH is coming by “mid-year 2020” (see PTT CEO Sends Loud & Clear Signal of Positive FID on OH Cracker). Here we are a few days later and the company has issued a statement to say activity at the site to push dirt around will soon slow down, perhaps even stop. But don’t worry, that’s NOT a sign (says the company) that they’ve lost interest in the project.
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PTT CEO Sends Loud & Clear Signal of Positive FID on OH Cracker

It was April 2015 when PTT Global Chemical, a huge petrochemical company based in Thailand, first announced they would consider building an ethane cracker plant in Ohio (see It’s Official: Belmont County Chosen as POSSIBLE Cracker Plant Site). Since that time PTT has purchased land for the plant and has even been seen moving dirt around at the site (see Dirt Being Moved at PTT Ohio Ethane Cracker Site – Still no FID). We’ve been somewhat critical of PTT over the years, chiding them because they’ve teased a “final investment decision” (FID) is just around the corner. The alluded to dates came and went–and still no FID. (Why do you build me up, buttercup, baby just to let me down, and mess me around?) Here we go again. PTT’s CEO has just announced the company is “on track” to make an FID on the Ohio cracker project “by mid-2020.”
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PTT Voices Concerns re Plastics; Still No Decision to Build OH Cracker

It amazes us that we now have to defend perhaps the greatest advancement to the longevity of not only humankind but all species on planet earth. That advancement is PLASTICS. Yes, plastics. The invention of plastic and its uses on Mom Earth has made our lives better. Plastics, contrary to the current popular mythology, have extended human and animal life. And yet, even the companies that build giant cracker plants to create raw plastic pellets (for further use in thousands of plastic products) must now bow down before environmental crackpots to declare their concern (even dislike) of the very thing they produce: plastic. It’s bizarre.
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Ohio Invests Another $20M in PTT Cracker Site, $70M Total So Far

We’re now a couple of months shy of the fifth anniversary for when PTT first announced they would consider building an ethane cracker plant in Ohio (see It’s Official: Belmont County Chosen as POSSIBLE Cracker Plant Site). Since that time, PTT has purchased land for the plant, and last fall was seen moving dirt around at the property (see Dirt Being Moved at PTT Ohio Ethane Cracker Site – Still no FID). Even without a final investment decision (FID) to build, the State of Ohio continues to invest money in the project–another $20 million last week.
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Big Green Tries to Whip Up Opposition to PTT Ohio Cracker

Big Green is doing its best to stir up opposition to PTT Global Chemical’s proposed ethane cracker plant in Belmont County, Ohio. Big Green is also trying to hide its involvement and pass itself off as organic, local community opposition. Not true. Last week the same so-called community organizer addressed an anti meeting at a local church and organized a “protest” a few days later.
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Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine Meets with PTT re Cracker – Still No FID

PTT Ohio cracker site (click for larger version)

Near the end the year for the past 3-4 years we inevitably hear that PTT Global Chemical will not, as promised or implied, make a final investment decision (FID) about building a multi-billion dollar ethane cracker in Belmont County, Ohio, but that the FID will instead happen “next year.” Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine (RINO) met with PTT representatives yesterday to discuss the project. No announcements. No new promises. No FID announced. Another disappointment (cue George Michael song “Last Christmas”).
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Dirt Being Moved at PTT Ohio Ethane Cracker Site – Still no FID

Credit: WTOV (click for larger version)

It’s that time of year again, when we hear rumors that PTT Global Chemical will make a final investment decision (FID) about their $7.5 billion ethane cracker project planned for Dilles Bottom in Belmont County, OH. The decision is always “coming soon.” Hopefully. Maybe. Any day now. But maybe not until next year. Can you tell we’ve grown weary of the rumors? This time it might (underscore MIGHT) be different. This time it’s not rumor but some action that caught our interest. Steubenville, Ohio TV station WTOV has video of dirt being pushed around at the site. Which we take to be a good omen.
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Big Green Groups Retract Opposition to PTT Ohio Cracker Air Permit

The Sierra Club, along with some lesser-known but equally radical enviro groups, filed a court challenge to an air quality permit granted by the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency for the PTT Global Chemical ethane cracker plant project in Belmont County, OH back in January (see Radical Green Groups Appeal Ohio Cracker Plant Air Permit). Yesterday those same groups agreed to retract their objection to the permit. Wait, did Big Green just get the natgas old-time religion?
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Rice Addresses Belmont County, OH Landowners in Town Hall Mtg

EQT’s new CEO Toby Rice made the rounds and conducted four town hall-style meetings with landowners (see Road Trip! EQT CEO Toby Rice Talks to Landowners in Town Hall Mtgs). We found and brought you local media coverage for both the first and third meetings–in Waynesburg, PA and Bridgeport, WV, respectively (see EQT CEO Toby Rice Hits a Home Run with Landowner Meetings and EQT CEO Toby Rice Explains Combo Drilling at WV Town Hall Mtg). There was a meeting in between those two, held in Belmont County, OH. We’ve been accused of bias for not writing about that meeting.
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PTT Buying Homes Near Proposed Cracker Plant in Belmont County

PTT Global Chemical continues to behave is if it’s going forward with building a $7.5 billion ethane cracker in Dilles Bottom (Belmont County), Ohio. The latest evidence? The company is actively buying up homes close to the proposed site. Over the past two months the company has snapped up six homes and is in discussions right now with others.
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Belmont County Injection Well Plan Stirs Opposition from Coal Co.

Injection Well Process (click for larger version)

In April, New Jersey-based Omni Energy Group submitted an application with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) to build two new injection wells in Belmont County, OH. The proposal has set off a firestorm of opposition, including opposition from Robert Murray and the Murray Energy Corporation–a coal miner who doesn’t like fair competition from natural gas.
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Ohio Pays Another $30M to Kickstart PTT Belmont Cracker Project

We’ve found one more bit of evidence that Ohio officials believe, rather strongly, that PTT Global Chemical will move forward with building a multi-billion dollar ethane cracker in Belmont County. JobsOhio, a private non-profit with a board appointed by the Ohio governor, gets most of its operating revenue from taxes on liquor sales in Ohio. JobsOhio previously spent $17 million in 2016 to clean up the site where PTT says they may/maybe/might build a cracker plant (see JobsOhio Picks Up the $17M Cost for Prepping OH Cracker Site). JobsOhio has just committed another $30 million for “site preparation work” for the cracker. One news source reports this is “the largest grant ever awarded in the Buckeye State” (by JobsOhio).
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Ohio Says PTT Cracker Will Get Built – Bechtel Confirms EPC Contract

Last Thursday and Friday, MDN attended the Northeast Petrochemical Conference & Exhibition in Pittsburgh. There were a number of interesting stories coming from the event that we will chronicle this week. However, there was one bit of breaking news from the event: Bechtel Oil, Gas & Chemicals Senior Project Manager of Pennsylvania Chemicals, Paul Marsden, made official what we previously shared as a rumor–that Bechtel has been selected as the EPC (engineering, procurement and construction) contractor to build the PTT cracker plant complex, when and if a positive final investment decision is made. According to a number of sources, that decision will get made this year.
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