The Intelligencer / Wheeling News-Register
COLUMBUS, Ohio – Though details are limited, the CEO of PTT Global Chemical – the firm evaluating plans for a $5.7 billion ethane cracker in Belmont County – will join Gov. John Kasich and others for an announcement at 3 p.m. today at the Ohio Statehouse in downtown Columbus.
In April, Belmont County leaders said Thailand-based PTT Global and partner Marubeni Corp. of Tokyo were exploring the possibility of building a petrochemical complex, which would include the 130-acre FirstEnergy Corp. R.E. Burger Plant and some adjoining property in the vicinity of the Ohio River and Ohio 7. The proposed project would crack ethane pumped from Marcellus and Utica shale wells into ethylene, which can be used to make plastics, textiles and pharmaceuticals.
“My understanding is they will announce the engineering and design work for the project. It is very welcome news,” State Sen. Lou Gentile, D-Steubenville, said of today’s event.
“Even with an almost $6 billion project, a $100 million investment is nothing to laugh at,” Ohio Rep. Jack Cera, D-Bellaire, added regarding the potential cost of the engineering work Gentile mentioned.
The Asian firms are supposed to make a final investment decision by the end of next year. On Monday, FirstEnergy spokeswoman Jennifer Young said the electricity company was moving forward to demolish the Burger plant, but said any talk of future development for the property would be premature.
Scheduled to join Kasich Thursday are PTT Global CEO Supattanapong Punmeechaow, Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor, JobsOhio President John Minor and other state and local officials.
Other potential cracker plants in the Marcellus and Utica region include the Odebrecht ASCENT Project possibility for Wood County, W.Va., as well as the Royal Dutch Shell plant that could open in Monaca, Pa. Both Odebrecht and Shell have applied for air quality permits to allow construction of their plants, but have not indicated a final investment decision.
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