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PTT Global Chemical pledges $100 Million investment for ethane cracker

The Intelligencer / Wheeling News-Register

The Thailand-based firm on Thursday committed to spend $100 million of its own money for engineering and design plans at the Dilles Bottom site.

“Building an ethane gas cracker in eastern Ohio has the ability to be a real game changer for our economy as we make our state a hub for the energy industry,” Kasich said Thursday at the Statehouse. “The company’s decision to start the engineering phase of this potential project is an enormous step toward making this project a reality.”

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“This is a big deal, when we talk about the downstream,” Kasich, added, while thanking Rep. Jack Cera, D-Bellaire, and Sen. Lou Gentile, D-Steubenville, for their efforts in “making sure people understood fracking.”

PTT President and CEO Supattanapong Punmeechaow said PTT America will take up to a year to determine the feasibility of a world-scale petrochemical complex. If constructed at the FirstEnergy R.E. Burger site and surrounding property, the project would create thousands of construction jobs and hundreds of permanent jobs.

The ethane cracker would convert ethane extracted from the region’s Marcellus and Utica shale formations into ethylene, which is used as a basis for plastics and resins contained in everyday items such as food and product packaging, textiles and pharmaceuticals.

Photo by Casey Junkins / PTT President and CEO Supattanapong Punmeechaow, left, listens as Ohio Gov. John Kasich speaks during the PTT Global Chemical ethane cracker announcement at the Ohio Statehouse in Columbus.

Punmeechaow said PTTGC America has signed contracts with two consortiums of prestigious engineering firms led by Bechtel Enterprises Holdings Inc. and Fluor Corp., which will conduct the preliminary front-end engineering design work and cost estimates.

“We have been very impressed with the Ohio business climate and with the prioritization of the shale energy industry,” Punmeechaow said. “Gov. Kasich and the team at JobsOhio have been very enthusiastic about this project, and the effectiveness of their team has been key to our focus on this site. With the strong continued support of the state of Ohio, JobsOhio, Belmont County and other local communities, we hope to make this project a reality by the end of next year.”

JobsOhio is the private, non-profit corporation designed to drive job creation and capital investment in Ohio.

“The benefits of an ethane cracker in Belmont County would reach far beyond the walls of the petrochemical complex itself. It would facilitate additional investments in the growing shale and petrochemical industries, leading to even more job opportunities for Ohioans,” said John Minor, president and chief investment officer of Jobs-Ohio. “I want to thank PTT Global Chemical America, our regional partner, Appalachian Partnership for Economic Growth, and our JobsOhio team for the collaborative efforts that have led to this exciting opportunity.”

“I am extremely optimistic. They are going to spend a lot of money,” Kasich said of the prospects for whether PTT will complete the massive endeavor.

Should the project move forward, construction of the ethane cracker facility would take an estimated three and a half years to complete.

“So many people are going to be able to benefit from the technology these incredible people are going to bring to our state,” Kasich added.

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