October 17, 2020 Read More →

Pandemic obscures financial problems of Appalachian plastics project

National Public Radio:

From his bar in Shadyside, Ohio, Matt Coffland has been counting on his town getting a new petrochemical plant since it was first planned, seven years ago. He says the southeastern part of the state has long been neglected.

“For us to get something like that, rightfully, I think we deserve it by now,” he says.

The plant, to be built by Thailand-based oil and gas company PTT, would be a major construction project.

“You’re talking an influx of close to 10,000 people at one point,” Coffland says.

The ethane “cracker,” as it’s called, would turn natural gas from nearby wells into petrochemicals and plastics. It’s part of a much-planned wave of petrochemical construction across Appalachia. 

Kathy Hipple, an analyst with the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis, which works toward sustainable energy, says the pandemic has certainly hurt demand for petrochemical products.

But she points out that projects in West Virginia, Texas and Pennsylvania have also been delayed or canceled in the past year. She thinks the PTT decision is part of a larger downward trend for the industry.

“We view this as a market signal that the project has possibly become far too risky for them to continue,” she says. 

[Reid Frazier]

More: Appalachian Town Must ‘Wait and Wait’ As Pandemic Puts Plastics Plant On Hold

Posted in: IEEFA In the News

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