Ohio is on the edge of becoming the linchpin for a petrochemical hub in the Midwest region. Natural gas liquids that are taken from the Utica and Marcellus shales are most often sent away, down to the Gulf Coast where they are turned into new chemicals that are necessary for manufacturers in Ohio and neighboring states.
Bringing such plants online in Ohio, or nearby states, streamlines the process and allows for greater economic advancement in the region. Companies have explored building ethane cracker plants in Monaca, Pennsylvania and on the Ohio River in Belmont County. As The Daily Record writes:
“If built, those multi-billion-dollar plants would be within 400 miles of more than 17,000 companies that make chemicals, rubber and plastics, including 250 with more than 100 workers. The plants also would have access to a network of railroad, highway and river transportation.”
This brings a new emphasis to natural gas infrastructure in Ohio, and in the region as a whole. Continued focus on expanding this industry’s capacity must be a priority. Time is not limitless here, as The Daily Record notes:
“The region has the manufacturing infrastructure and know-how to develop a petrochemical hub, but the clock is ticking, warned James Cooper of the American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers, an industry group.
“If we don’t get this done within 10 years, somebody else is going to do it,” Cooper said.”
Expanding and improving the necessary infrastructure in the Ohio region will create tremendous economic opportunities for many people, and CEPI hopes to see these plans come to fruition. It is well within the realm of possibility that we will soon be able to use Ohio’s natural gas entirely in Ohio, from production to its use in manufacturing.