November 18, 2020 Read More →

Thai company delays decision on $10 billion petrochemical complex in Ohio

The Columbus Dispatch:

A Thailand company has again delayed its decision about whether to proceed with a massive petrochemical plant in eastern Ohio, raising more doubts about whether the project will proceed.

PTT Global Chemical is conducting another feasibility study of the proposed plant in Belmont County, a review that will delay a final decision until at least the middle of 2021, the Bangkok Post reported.

The company’s decision to review the project makes sense, said Kathy Hipple, a financial analyst with the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis, a Cleveland-based research group.

“There’s still a lot of petrochemicals on the market. And demand is uncertain, post pandemic. But the broader (issue) is that the type of plastics that they were going to make — the price has dropped a lot since they first conceived of this project,” she said. “It no longer makes economic sense to invest $10 billion in building a petrochemical complex, when the demand for this product is uncertain, the price for the product is very low.”

“I expect it (the study) will be finished in the middle of next year at the soonest,” Auttapol Rerkpiboon, the chief executive of PTT, told the Bangkok Post. PTT Global Chemical is a petrochemical arm of PTT.

The project was announced in 2015, and the company has repeatedly missed deadlines for making a final commitment to the project. Previous delays have been blamed on the pullout of PTT’s South Korean partner Daelim, the pandemic, the U.S.-China trade war and opposition from environmental groups. Now the company has told the Bangkok newspaper it must factor in the election of Democrat Joe Biden as president on its revisions.

[Mark Williams and Beth Burger]

More: Ohio petrochemical project hits another snag; final announcement delayed to mid-2021

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