An energy company from Thailand said today that it is considering building an ethane cracker in Belmont County, a project that could lead to billions of dollars worth of investment.
“We are one step closer to landing a new, multibillion-dollar investment in eastern Ohio, and that’s exciting news for our state, the region and Belmont County,” said Gov. John Kasich, in a statement, “There is more work ahead before final decisions on this project are made, but I know our Ohio team will do everything we can to bring it fruition.”...
This is the most recent of several cracker plants proposed by various companies in Ohio, West Virginia and Pennsylvania. Some of the others were greeted with fanfare and then ran into problems.
Today’s announcement is notable because of the involvement of the state government, which implies that the project may be more viable than some others.
A cracker plant would take ethane – a component of natural gas -- and break it down into a substance that can be used to make chemicals and plastic.
The plant would use its proximity to the Utica and Marcellus shale formations for an inexpensive supply of gas, which would likely translate to lower costs for companies that use ethane.
Economic development leaders have sought a cracker plant in Ohio because of the scale of the investment and the likelihood that a plant would attract chemical companies and others to locate nearby.
Hey! Who you callin' cracker?