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Report: Bechtel Selected to Build PTT Ethane Cracker in Belmont County

Photo by Casey Junkins Contractors perform engineering work on the former R.E. Burger plant site, at which PTT Global Chemical and Daelim Industrial Co. may build a $10 billion ethane cracker.

DILLES BOTTOM — A recent announcement at a natural gas industry conference in Pittsburgh appears to be a major step forward for the proposed ethane cracker plant in Belmont County, as Bechtel Corp. says it has been selected to oversee construction of the multi-billion dollar facility.

Paul Marsden, Bechtel’s senior vice president, confirmed the news during a presentation at the Northeast Petrochemical Conference & Exhibition in Pittsburgh. Bechtel currently is overseeing construction of Royal Dutch Shell’s cracker plant in Monaca, Pennsylvania.

The proposed PTT Global Chemical America plant at Dilles Bottom, just south of Shadyside along the Ohio River, would be of similar size and scale to the Shell plant. With Bechtel overseeing both projects, there’s a stronger possibility that workers from the Shell site, once it’s completed, could relocate to the local region to begin work on the PTT site.

PTT, based in Thailand, has been studying and assessing the local market since at least late 2015, when it announced it would tap into the region’s large concentration of wet gas from Marcellus and Utica shale drilling and build an ethane cracker plant at the former FirstEnergy R.E. Burger power plant site. The company since has partnered with Daelin, a South Korean company, and work has been progressing steadily through property purchases, air and water permits and land clearing.

Most recently, in March, PTT contracted with a local business to remove trees of more than 3 inches in diameter in a 140-acre area at the site of the proposed petrochemical complex.

PTT has yet to make a final investment decision on the local project. If built, PTT has said they anticipate the plant would produce 1.5 million metric tons of ethylene annually. It is anticipated that construction would lead to thousands of jobs to build the facility, and then thousands of long-term jobs would be created by the plant and other downstream ventures that utilize the ethylene.

When asked Wednesday about the Bechtel contract, Dan Williamson, spokesman for PTT Global, said he “is not authorized to comment” on Bechtel or the contract. Messages left Wednesday with Bechtel Corp. were not immediately returned.

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