Ohio Valley economic news
Where's the local coverage?
The missing signatures for the Belmont County’s cracker plant may remain missing
From yesterday’s upbeat Wheeling Intelligencer editorial, “Cracker Plant News Gratifying”:
. . . it was revealed that three local government entities will be receiving enormous amounts of revenue from PTT Global Chemical America and Daelim Chemical USA. The two companies are partners in the proposed ethane cracker plant that has been in the works for several years. . .
Neither company has formally committed to build the plant. It certainly seems that all is missing is signatures on the dotted line, however.
Will we really see those signatures? Recently, outside sources have questioned whether the plant would ever be built. For example, from an article by James Bruggers published last week in Inside Climate News:
Market Headwinds Buffet Appalachia’s Future as a Center for Petrochemicals
Now, analysts at IHS Markit have concluded that a proposed $5.7 billion ethane plant in Belmont County, Ohio, may never be constructed due to circumstances that were present even before the coronavirus began to dramatically shrink the economy.
The article goes on to detail why the cracker plant will likely not be built.
And here’s Sean O’Leary earlier today:
Today Fitch ratings joined IHS Markit, a market analytics firm in concluding PTTGC's proposed Belmont County, OH cracker will not go forward. https://t.co/qrsrMArGtY pic.twitter.com/t5d5ScRwV9— Sean O'Leary (@seanholeary1) March 31, 2020
An easy question: did the editorial do any fact checking or did it simply take the company’s word?
Murray Energy closer to liquidation?
From The Wall Street Journal earlier today:
Coal supplier Murray Energy Corp. said its business has taken a severe hit from “historically bad” coal markets and the coronavirus pandemic, pushing the bankrupt company close to liquidation.
To stay afloat, the nation’s largest private coal company sought permission Monday from the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Columbus, Ohio, to stop paying roughly $6 million a month in retiree medical costs.
According to Bloomberg, retirees would not suffer:
Stopping the health-care payments would save the company $200,000 a day -- some $6 million a month -- and wouldn’t hurt the retirees because the benefits are backstopped by the U.S. government, according to the request.