Eastern Ohio may be getting a major new petrochemical complex.
Gov. John Kasich in a Sept. 3 news release that the American subsidiary of Thailand's PTT Global Chemical, a major petrochemical and refining company, is prepared to invest $100 million to conduct detailed engineering design for a world-scale ethane cracker on a site on the west bank of the Ohio River in Belmont County, across the river from Wheeling, W.Va.
The investment would be on the site of FirstEnergy Corp.'s former Burger power plant, which was retired in late 2011.
“Building an ethane gas cracker in eastern Ohio has the ability to be a real game changer for our economy as we make our state a hub for the energy industry,” Kasich said in the release. “The company's decision to start the engineering phase of this potential project is an enormous step toward making this project a reality.”
Supattanapong Punmeechaow, president and CEO of PTT Global Chemical, said in the release that it will take up to the next 12 months to determine the feasibility of the plan.
The ethane cracker would convert ethane extracted from the region's shale formations into ethylene, which is the basis for many of the plastics and resins contained in food and product packaging, textiles and pharmaceuticals.
“We have been very impressed with the Ohio business climate and with the prioritization of the shale energy industry,” Punmeechaow said. “With the strong continued support of the state of Ohio, JobsOhio, Belmont County and other local communities, we hope to make this project a reality by the end of next year."
JobsOhio, the private, nonprofit corporation that runs the state's economic development program, has focused on bringing a petrochemical complex to Ohio.