The Intelligencer/Wheeling News-Register
Belmont County Port Authority Director Discusses Boost Potential Cracker Could Bring
May 23, 2018
Larry Merry took an opportunity Tuesday to talk about how a proposed ethane cracker could help boost the economic climate of Belmont County.
Merry, the executive director for the Belmont County Port Authority spoke, during Project BEST’s networking lunch at the Belmont Hills Country Club. He discussed the potential job opportunities of oil and gas projects, and specifically emphasized how businesses in the Upper Ohio Valley are able to sustain a wide range of jobs in production, development and manufacturing.
“Companies want to invest in a place that is close to both products and customers,” Merry said. “We have both.”
Project BEST is a construction industry labor-management organization made up of the Upper Ohio Valley Building and Construction Trades Council and the Ohio Valley Construction Employers Council. Its goals include creating jobs and ensuring efficient construction service, as well as creating a platform to discuss industry matters. Project BEST works closely with commissioners and the Belmont County Port Authority to create economic stimulation.
During the presentation, Merry talked about the proposed ethane cracker near Dilles Bottom.
“The goal is to draw in major employers,” said Merry. “The manufacturing that will come with producing crackers brings great jobs.”
PTT Global Chemical, of Thailand, recently paid more than $13 million for property that officials have said would be used to build the $10 billion giant petrochemical plant. Developers and public officials have said the ethane cracker would create about 6,000 construction jobs and 500 permanent jobs in Belmont County.
“This type of investment will produce thousands of jobs,” he said. “Although there may only be 500 to 600 permanent jobs created from PTT, those workers will support other businesses and grow the local economy.”
Dan Milleson, a Harrison County Democrat running for Ohio’s 95th State House seat, said he believes the oil and gas industry represents a “huge opportunity awaiting east Ohio.”
He also said he believes that the ethane cracker “looks promising and will eventually change east Ohio and the job market for decades.”
Merry’s presentation to the group concluded with an emphasis on “rebuilding the Valley” through ethane cracker construction jobs and his hope that manufacturing will follow closely.
“We need to capture manufacturing jobs,” he said. “The cracker is only one small piece.”