Bechtel Gets Construction Contract for Ohio Cracker

A proposed construction project to build an ethane cracker in eastern Ohio has taken a step forward, reports Kallanish Energy. Engineering giant Bechtel Corp. (Reston, Va.) has been hired by Thailand’s PTT Global Chemical America and its South Korea-based partner, Daleim, to build the $6-billion facility. A final investment decision has yet to be made.

The news was reported at the fourth annual Northeast Petrochemical Conference & Exhibition in Pittsburgh, in a presentation by Bechtel’s senior vice president, Paul Marsden. The proposal calls for the plant to be constructed in Shadyside, on the Ohio River in Belmont County. The 140-acre site is where a now-razed coal-fired power plant formerly operated. Site preparation has commenced.

If built, the plant would produce 1.5 million tons of ethylene and other materials annually, sourcing ethane feedstock produced from nearby shale drilling. The facility would incorporate six ethane cracking furnaces and manufacture ethylene, polyethylene, and linear low-density polyethylene. PTT Global Chemical America is a subsidiary of PTT Global Chemical, Thailand’s largest integrated petrochemical company.

Kallanish Energy reports that Royal Dutch Shell (London) is building a similar cracker in western Pennsylvania, in Beaver County near Pittsburgh. Bechtel also landed that contract and Marsden is the senior project manager. Asked by the energy consultancy whether his company’s high-profile hand in the Shell cracker, and its soon-to-be involvement in the Ohio cracker’s construction, may pose problems—in terms of having enough personnel to build two massive projects simultaneously—Marsden said “no.”

“Synergy comes from overlapping projects,” he explained. “However, if they [construction timeframes] are too close, it can drive up labor costs. But if the projects are too far away [in terms of timing], you will lose personnel because they cannot wait around and will be gone chasing the next job.”

(SOURCE: The Weekly Propane Newsletter, July 15, 2019)