- PTT Global Chemical and Daelim Industrial Co. announced Monday that they have formed a joint venture that could build a $10 billion ethane cracker plant in Belmont County, Ohio, according to The Intelligencer.
- Thailand-based PTT has been in the process of determining the feasibility of such a project in the Ohio Valley for nearly three years, and the joint venture with South Korea-based Daelim, according to another Intelligencer report, would allow the team to almost double the size of the plant, set on 500 acres along the Ohio River, from its original estimate of $5.7 billion. PTT said the plant would process approximately 100,000 barrels of ethane every day and would be powered by natural gas.
- The investment in the project has reached $115 million, and, if the plan goes forward, the plant could create as many as 6,000 construction jobs and 500 permanent positions once complete. The joint venture will make its final decision later this year.
Back in 2015, PTT said Ohio's private economic development arm, JobsOhio, had offered the company a significant package of benefits to build its cracker plant in Belmont County, according to Columbus Business First. The JobsOhio proposal included tax credits based on job creation, workforce training funds, infrastructure improvement grants and local tax credits.
Shell Chemicals also received incentives from Pennsylvania in exchange for the company building its $6 billion ethane cracker plant in Potter Township, Pa. In addition to the ethane facility, the company is also building surrounding infrastructure, a 250-megawatt natural gas-fired plant to power the cracker plant, cooling tower, water-treatment plant, laboratory and an office building.
The project is expected to create 6,000 construction jobs, and, in return, Pennsylvania, according to National Public Radio, gave Shell a 25-year, $1.65 billion tax credit to build its cracker plant in the commonwealth, a 15-year tax amnesty and a $2.10 tax credit for every gallon of ethane it purchases from Pennsylvania natural gas drillers. Back in November, Royal Dutch Shell said it expected the Potter Township plant, once complete, to add $3.5 billion to $4 billion of earnings each year to the company's chemical division, according to The Times.
But these projects aren't without controversy. In January, an advocacy group called FracTracker Alliance said the pipeline that will be built to carry ethane to the Potter Township plant could impact 319 streams, 174 wetlands, 550 homes, 20 businesses, 240 water wells, 12 parks, five schools, six daycare centers, 16 emergency response centers and drinking water in the Ambridge Reservoir, all of which are along the pipeline route. The state Department of Environmental Protection, according to the Tribune-Review, is holding a series of public hearings to address concerns about the project next month.