Today’s statement in the Bangkok Post by PTTGC chief executive Kongkrapan Intarajang saying the company will need more time to find ways to reduce the cost of the ethane cracker project proposed for Belmont County, Ohio and find a new business partner is just the latest indication that the project as well as the envisioned buildout of a massive petrochemical industry in Appalachia is unlikely to go forward.
That was the key finding at a recent online forum hosted by the Ohio River Valley Institute in which experts from finance, the petrochemical industry, and policymaking examined market conditions and trends in public policy, both of which suggest an increasingly bleak outlook for this project and for expansive petrochemical development in the region.
Kathy Hipple, Finance Professor at Bard College’s MBA in Sustainability and a former financial analyst at the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis, was a participant in the forum and said in response to today’s story in the Bangkok Post, “Today’s announcement that PTTGCA has further delayed its investment decision is an acknowledgment of the increasingly difficult economics of the global virgin plastics industry. The company spent months trying — and failing — to find a partner to share the risks of building a multi-billion-dollar petrochemical complex in Ohio. This latest market signal suggests the Thai-based company, which reported a huge drop in both revenues and earnings in 2020, is not in a financial position to undertake the project on its own, and risks stranding assets should it pursue an unwise investment decision.”
[S. Tom Bond]