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Thai Company Delays Ohio Ethane Cracker FID, But Touts Progress

PTT Global Chemical (PTTGC) pcl said late Tuesday it needs more time to make a final investment decision (FID) on its multi-billion dollar proposal to build a world-scale ethane cracker in Belmont County, OH, pushing the FID to late 2017.

PTTGC said in September 2015 it would invest $100 million for the facility's preliminary design work. An affiliate, PTTGC America LLC, has been working with two engineering firms to finish the work. The company said Tuesday that after receiving initial plans for the plant, it needs more time to consider them and work with the firms so it can be in "a stronger position" to decide on the design and economic feasibility of the project. The late 2017 timeframe, PTTGC said, would be later than it originally anticipated.

"We expect this process to take several additional months, delaying PTTGC America's ability to reach a final investment decision," said PTTGC America CEO Toasaporn Boonyapipat. "For some in the Belmont County community, especially the project area residents, we recognize this delay may cause further uncertainty and inconvenience, but we hope that the strong support we have received to date will continue."

Spokesman Dan Williamson said Wednesday PTTGC's facility would be capable of producing 1 million metric tons per year of ethylene, a key building block for plastics. The cracker would consume about 65,000 b/d of ethane.

At the time PTTGC made its announcement in 2015, the company said it would likely have an FID by 2016 or 2017. Local officials and others familiar with the project told NGI's Shale Daily late last year that they expected an FID in early 2017. The facility would be built in Mead Township along the Ohio River on about 450 acres of land for which PTTGC has signed purchase options. Significant site preparation has been completed over the last year.

In its update, the company said commercial arrangements have already been made with producers for feedstock with utility suppliers, as well as product marketers and logistics providers. It has also received three environmental permits related to site preparation. PTTGC stressed that the FID process is critical to the success of the project and noted its potential for the region with the thousands of construction jobs it could create and the hundreds of full-time jobs that would come later if the facility enters service.

PTTGC is the petrochemical and refining subsidiary of Thailand's state-owned oil and gas company, PTT pcl. Boonyapipat emphasized the company's "full willingness and desire to further develop this project."

Shell Chemical Appalachia LLC last June advanced its multi-billion dollar ethane cracker in Western Pennsylvania.

[NGI will host a webinar, "Cracking the Ethane Code in Appalachia," on Monday, Feb. 27 at 2 p.m. EST. The event will feature industry experts and cover the impact that Shell's facility, and others like it, might have on the basin.]

It took about five years for Shell to reach an FID on the facility after indicating its interest in the region in 2011. Odebrecht SA affiliate Braskem SA put its plans on hold in 2015 for a similarly sized facility in West Virginia, citing the commodities downturn.

 

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