Ohio Valley is best choice in the world to locate a cracker plant, one organization says

Wheeling, W.Va. (WTRF) - One Ohio Valley firm has already been contacted by the engineering procurement construction firm working on the Dilles Bottom potential cracker plant.

Although PTT Global is not expected to announce their decision until late 2018 or early 2019, they are clearly already putting plans in place.

At an event sponsored by the Wheeling Area Chamber of Commerce, a sales representative from Sistersville Tank Works revealed that his company has been asked to submit a quote for fabricating vessels and equipment for the facility, if it happens.

Alex Hilton said it would mean a tremendous boost to Sistersville Tank Works.

"It would mean many tens of millions of dollars and many years of potential work, and in addition to that, a continuing presence in their plant over the life of that plant," said Hilton.

Sistersville Tank Works opened in 1894, and has since worked on the very first cracker plant built in America.

Shale Crescent USA is a marketing organization formed to let the world know of the advantages of the tri-state area for petrochemical plants.

They spoke to business leaders invited by the Wheeling Area Chamber of Commerce, explaining why they believe the Ohio Valley is best situated as the site for petrochemical plants from now on.

Greg Kozera, marketing director for Shale Crescent USA, says they decided to brand the tri-state area as the "shale crescent" because other names--from "the northeast" to "Appalachia" conveyed the wrong idea.

"And people would think a low tech area, poverty, and we're trying to bring in high tech industries to bring in high wage jobs--career oriented permanent jobs," Kozera said.

He says in the past, the Ohio Valley never profited from its own resources, with our coal always being shipped out to Pittsburgh and Detroit.

"Now we have one last shot to keep our gas here, and this is where the petrochemical industry started in the 1920s." he said.

Joe Eddy, president and CEO of Eagle Manufacturing, said this area has a unique advantage.

"You can position a manufacturing plant right on top of the actual resource in this area," he said. "No place else has that. The Gulf Coast, Saudi Arabia, no place else has that in the world."

He said it would be a tremendous advantage to his company if the cracker were to locate here.

"We use about 20 to 30 million pounds of plastic per year, at a great cost of transferring it from Houston, Texas, to here," he noted.

He also said there are other compelling reasons why America's petro-chemical base should not be solely on the Gulf Coast.

"The Gulf Coast typically has lots of hurricanes, and could potentially be a problem with weather or terrorism," said Eddy. "And that's really the only key chemical base in this country."

Erikka Storch, president of the Wheeling Area Chamber of Commerce, said, "Hopefully it will encourage the business leaders to work with everything in their power to make that become a reality, It's a game-changer and we need to make sure we capitalize on the opportunity."

This article was authored by D.K. Wright for WTRF. Click here to read it on their website.