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.
On the plus side PTT paid $13.8 million for a 168-acre site back in 2017 on which to build it (see PTT Global Buys Land for Belmont, OH Ethane Cracker Plant). They picked up another 300 acres nearby in 2018 for $17.5 million (see PTT Buys Another 300+ Acres for Belmont County, OH Cracker).
PTT paid two engineering companies $100 million to come up with a design for the facility (see PTT Announces 2 Contractors Working on Belmont Cracker Plant). The design contest winner was Bechtel (see PTT Awards Belmont Cracker Engineering Contract to Bechtel).
They now have all of the major permits they need to build it (see Ohio Cracker Now has All Key Regulatory Permits – Still no FID).
They’ve spent gobs of money on all sorts of things to get ready to build. Everyone knows it’s going to happen. Why not just be done with and announce? We don’t know. But we do continue to look for signs. Another important sign has just appeared.
Kallanish Energy is reporting that last week PTT began clearing trees from the original 168-acre site for the cracker in Belmont County. Such projects are subject to a federal ban on cutting trees after March 31 and until October 31 due to threatened/endangered bats (don’t ask). Our point is there is a deadline looming, and PTT wants all of the trees gone in the next few weeks to meet that deadline. The tree clearing is a good indication that other activity to prep the site–pushing dirt around–will begin this year. Perhaps even this summer.
What do you know? Maybe an FID is finally close after all!
Our friends at Kallanish are, as far as we can find, the only news organization to unearth this news:
Tree clearing is under way at the site of a proposed ethane cracker plant in eastern Ohio, even though a final investment decision is still pending by PTT Global Chemical America and its partner, Daelim.
The companies last week announced they have hired a local firm to clear 140 acres in Belmont County of trees by March 31, Kallanish Energy reports.
The local company will remove all trees three inches in diameter and larger at the site at Shadyside, on the Ohio River where a now-razed coal-burning power plant used to stand.
After March 31, trees cannot be cleared under federal and state rules because of the threat to the endangered Indiana bat that might be mating and raising young under tree bark.
The companies, in the three-sentence announcement, said no final investment decision has been made.
The $6 billion plant, if built, would annually produce 1.5 million metric tonnes of ethylene and other materials from ethane produced by shale drilling.
The plant would use six ethane cracking furnaces and manufacture ethylene, high-quality polyethylene and linear low-density polyethylene.
PTT Global Chemical America is a subsidiary of PTT Global Chemical, Thailand’s largest integrated petrochemical company.
Royal Dutch Shell is building a similar cracker in Beaver County, northwest of Pittsburgh, in western Pennsylvania.*
Gentleman, start your chainsaws!
*Kallanish Energy (Mar 11, 2019) – Tree clearing begins at possible Ohio ethane cracker site
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