NAI OHIO RIVER CORRIDOR WOULD LIKE TO THANK ADAM BRUNS FOR SPEAKING AT OUR APPALACHIAN BASIN REAL ESTATE CONFERENCE LAST WEEK
Site Selection Managing Editor Adam Bruns delivered remarks last week at the inaugural Appalachian Basin Real Estate Conference at Oglebay Resort in Wheeling, West Virginia. Short on platitudes and long on business intelligence, the conference’s lineup was in agreement that the unconventional oil and gas revolution has sparked economic growth in the tri-state Ohio River corridor, but further expansion is being held back by a lack of energy infrastructure, i.e. large-scale storage. When the $10 billion Shell ethane cracker in Monaca, Pennsylvania, gets up and running soon, “the real Wild West is going to begin,” said Chuck Zelek, a native of the area who today serves as senior economist in the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Fossil Energy.
Why? The lack of storage means approximately 270,000 barrels a day of Appalachian ethane currently are being shipped to the Gulf Coast (which has its own set of crackers about to be unleashed in Texas and Louisiana), where it’s converted to feedstocks that are then shipped back to the tri-state region where so many plastics and chemicals manufacturers operate. Solving the storage conundrum will not only help the $5 billion PTT Global Chemical cracker project proposal cross the finish line in Belmont County, Ohio, but will provide enough capacity for several more crackers, suggest Zelek and others, as companies realize savings from eliminating two legs of long-distance transport.
The DOE and USDA joined forces in October to increase energy technology development and deployment in rural America via a number of under-the-radar federal programs with money available. The two agencies, along with the U.S. Small Business Administration, will convene a conference back in Wheeling on March 11, 2020, to share information about the programs and spark even more growth in the area.
Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration 2019 Annual Energy Outlook Reference Case