COLUMBUS, OHIO (WTRF) - For decades, industry has nearly died across the Ohio Valley, but oil and gas production has changed all.
Belmont County sits on one of the largest reserves on the globe and industry leaders across the world are taking note and with that increased focus on our area comes more positive news about the proposed ethane cracker for Belmont County.
It has the possibility of being the largest investment in Ohio history. The proposed plant has been talked about, at length, for the last three years and on Monday Governor John Kasich held a press conference in Columbus to announce another partnership in the project.
It's being hailed as yet another step in the right direction for the proposed $5.7 billion plant. In Columbus, The Board of Directors with PTTGCA and officials with Daelim Industrial Co. LTD, which is a leading Korean construction and chemical company, made their working relationship official.
"You think back to the years when coal was big, steel was big, and now potentially with this cracker plant. It will be a big boost for our area, to say the least, and gives a lot of people hope if this project comes through," said Belmont County Commission, Josh Meyer.
Daelim will carry out a feasibility study and ultimately, secure the funding for the proposed plant in Dillies Bottom. If the plant is built, it would be capable of producing 1.5 metric tons of ethylene and it's derivatives per year. That product is what would be used in making plastics.
"We have been cautiously optimistic about this project for three to four years and hearing today from both presidents of the newly formed partnership is a little bump forward that this is truly going to happen. So we look forward to an announcement sometime this year," said Belmont County Commissioner, Mark Thomas.
Government officials have deemed the development of the proposed plant as a ray of hope for the Ohio Valley.
Saying it could change the economic climate here in the Ohio Valley in a way in which we've experienced before.
Ohio Governor John Kasich said, "This is a home run and it's right within our grasp," during the press conference.
Since the announcement back in 2015, PTT Global Chemical America has invested over $100 million to carry out their studies. The final investment decision has been pushed back several times in the last couple of years, but officials said that is another positive sign because it shows that PTTGCA is doing their due diligence. The final decision is expected by the end of 2018.
Stay with 7News for the very latest developments as they come.