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Ohio Petrochemical Plant Developer Gives Updated Timeline for Final Decision

The developer of a proposed petrochemical plant in Belmont County, Ohio, said the project hasn’t been put on indefinite hold and gave a new timeline for a final investment decision on the project.

“PTTGC America today reiterated its commitment to a world-scale petrochemical complex in Ohio, unveiling an anticipated timeline of six to nine months for a final investment decision. In the wake of a global pandemic, all companies, including PTTGCA, have been prioritizing the health and safety of employees and all stakeholders, focusing on business continuity, and taking prudent steps to navigate new challenges,” a June 1 press release states.

“Even with these challenges, PTTGCA is still progressing with the project and at no point put the project on indefinite hold.”

“While the pandemic has prevented us from moving as quickly as we would like within our previous timeline, our best estimate is for a final investment decision by the end of this year or in the first quarter of next year.” PTTGCA President and CEO Toasaporn Boonyapipat.

In late April, the company said it couldn’t commit to a firm timeline given the uncertainties surrounding the pandemic.

If built, it will be the second ethane cracker plant in the Appalachian Basin and similar to Shell plant now under construction in Beaver County, Pennsylvania. PTTGC, a Thailand-based company that has collaborated with Daelim, a South Korean chemical company, on the proposed project. A cracker plant converts molecules of ethane, a natural gas byproduct, into ethylene and polyethylene, from which plastics, resins, solvents, and other industrial products are made

The company has years of study and planning invested in the $6 billion project on a site just across the Ohio River from West Virginia’s northern panhandle. It could mean a big boost for the Ohio Valley area, which has lost significant manufacturing jobs. In late March, PTTGC announced it had reached an economic development agreement with schools and local governments.

JobsOhio, the state’s private economic development organization, has given the developer $50 million in grants. The developer has completed the first phase of site preparation work and obtained environmental permits.

However, some analysts have been raising concerns about the viability of the Ohio plant and whether the buildout of the petrochemical industry in Appalachia will occur, due to negative market conditions that have been exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic and move away from plastics.

It now appears PTTGC has determined a time period for evaluation of market conditions and economics of the project as the nation recovers from the pandemic before making a final decision.

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