Ohio has contributed another $20 million to finish site preparation work in Belmont County for a proposed multi-billion dollar ethane cracker.

In monthly metrics released for January, JobsOhio said it issued a revitalization grant to engineering, procurement and construction contractor Bechtel Corp. Since 2015, the organization has committed $70.4 million in revitalization and economic development grants and loans to the project, which is being advanced by affiliates of Thailand’s PTT Global Chemical pcl and South Korea-based Daelim Industrial.

JobsOhio spokesperson Matt Englehart said the financial assistance would help the companies “move forward on critical site-related engineering and site preparation work in a comprehensive and timely manner.” Completing that work would maximize the attractiveness of the Belmont County site” toward a positive final investment decision (FID).

PTTGC America LLC (PTTGCA) said in 2015 it was interested in constructing the facility and budgeted $100 million for preliminary design work. In 2018, it partnered with Daelim Chemical USA to advance the project. The companies expect to make an FID, which has been delayed in the past, this year.

The plant would use six ethane cracking furnaces and manufacture ethylene, high-density polyethylene and linear low-density polyethylene, which are used in plastics and chemical manufacturing.

After PTTGCA and Daelim formed their partnership, the companies nearly doubled the design capacity to 1.5 million metric tons/year of ethylene, or at least 500,000 metric tons/year more than when first announced. The facility would be in line to produce the same amount of ethylene as Royal Dutch Shell plc’s ethane cracker, which is under construction in nearby western Pennsylvania and expected to come online in the coming years. Shell’s facility is designed to have the capability to consume about 100,000 b/d of ethane.

The proposed cracker, which has secured all the major regulatory approvals to move forward,  would be in Belmont County on Old Route 7 and Highway 2 in the village of Shadyside along the Ohio River. Part of the nearly 500-acre site was once home to a coal-fired power plant operated by FirstEnergy Corp. that was retired in 2011.