Ohio Gov. John Kasich announced this week that the investment to build a world-class shale-powered petrochemical complex in Ohio could now jump to as much as $10 billion and would be a “home run” for the region. While a final investment decision has not yet been made by Thailand-based PTT Global Chemical and its new partner, South Korea’s Daelim Industrial Co., Ohio’s governor said he is “more optimistic” that the final investment is coming in a “relatively short period of time.” The fact that PTT has already spent $100M on the project and has exercised an option to buy an additional 300 acres gives every indication Kasich’s optimism is justified. What’s more is that Ohio’s top elected official said the ethane cracker will change the very fabric of Ohio’s economy, even comparing the investment to Amazon and Facebook.  At a recent press conference Kasichsaid,

“It will create a whole new dimension, a whole new economy in the state of Ohio. Because with the development of a facility like this… the first thing you think about is the development of the plastics industry and the ability to change the very fabric. These are industries that the Midwest has never seen.”

Kasich is absolutely right. This project is not only a shot in the arm for an area of the country that’s long been forgotten, it will likely change the “fabric” of Ohio’s economy for years to come.  The prolific natural gas and natural gas liquids found in Ohio, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia are enticing investments from all over the world, such as the partnership with the Thailand-based PTT Global Chemical and South Korea’s Daelim Industrial Co., and the recent final investment decision made by Royal Dutch Shell cracker facility in Pennsylvania. These investments will be an economic catalyst, not just for Ohio, but for multiple states that share the Ohio River. Shale-drive economics leading to petrochemical investments are transformational and region-changing.  Gov. Kasich summed it up this way,

“It’s great to see these two world-class companies coming together to develop an exciting 21st century industry that will dramatically transform Ohio. Building this massive ethane cracker plant here will be a game-changer, not only for Eastern Ohio, but for the entire state, as it will create so many new opportunities for economic development. …. I am extremely hopeful within a relatively short period of time that we will have a final announcement and we will get moving on this and at that point in time we will recruit businesses from all over the world to come and be a part of this and we will include our friends in West Virginia, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, it’s going to be really cool.”

So cool in fact, that EID has identified that the region could become a Silicon Valley of shale, creating an energy infrastructure nerve center capable of catapulting a manufacturing renaissance that will thrive with locally produced Marcellus and Utica natural gas. During his press conference, Kasich alluded to this same ideology in comparing the petrochemical investment as a monumental change agent for Ohio, similar to other noteworthy investments in the state, such as Facebook’s new data center outside of Columbus.

“We’re not just interested in this; we’re interested in building an entirely new community of technology. When you get Amazon cloud computing, it’s a change, when you see an investment in Facebook, it’s a change. These are industries that the Midwest has never seen, and that’s what’s so exciting about this.”

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