Paul Wojciechowski said the Thailand-based petrochemical firm will make a final decision on construction by early next year, during the Ohio Valley Regional Oil & Gas Expo at the James Carnes Center Tuesday.
If built, the cracker construction would generate thousands of temporary jobs and hundreds of full-time permanent jobs, along with the millions of dollars in wages paid and associated economic activity generated. Wojciechowski also told the several hundred attending that any plans to burn the liquid are counterproductive. “Friends don’t let friends burn ethane. That would be a waste,” he said. Developers of the proposed $615 million Moundsville Power natural gas power plant previously announced intentions to burn ethane in their facility.
Also, some producers now blend ethane into their methane streams to heat homes. Wojciechowski said he plans to meet with Ohio Environmental Protection Agency officials this week to discuss some of the permits for which PTT Global Chemical will soon apply. Such a project would create certain types of air pollution, according to documents filed with the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental protection for the Royal Dutch Shell ethane cracker planned for Monaca, Pa. Although Wojciechowski emphasized he could not promise the plant would be built, he said the nearly 500- acre site between Ohio 7 and the Ohio River would be preferred. “It was important for me to show you just how perfect this area is for our plant,” he said, displaying an aerial photograph of the site.
Contractors working for FirstEnergy Corp. are demolishing the closed R.E. Burger power plant. The massive project would include the Burger site, along with another nearly 300 acres to the west. Wojciechowski said plans call for having infrastructure that would “crack” the ethane into ethylene, which then would be transformed into ethylene glycol for antifreeze polyethylene for plastic. “Hundreds of rail cars of polyethylene pellets per month,” Wojciechowski said of how much completed material the plant would ship via railroad.
Expo attendees also heard from Rob Wingo, senior vice president of Rice Energy, on Tuesday. Rice is one of the largest producers of natural gas in the region, claiming eight of the 10 most prolific natural gas wells in Ohio during the final quarter of 2015 — all in Belmont County. “We do have a great technology team that keeps us ahead and gives us great well results,” Wingo said. Wingo said every driller in the region is waiting for more interstate pipeline capacity to come online.
Presently, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission continues reviewing the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, the Mountain Valley Pipeline, the Rover Pipeline, the Leach XPress pipeline, the Mountaineer XPress pipeline and the Nexus Pipeline. Rick Frio serves as chairman of MPR Transloading & Energy Services in Bellaire and is one of the expo’s organizers. The business serves to supply fracking sand and other materials producers need. “This industry is safe, it’s effective — it’s a great thing for our communities,” he said.
By Casey Junkins, The Times Leader