Most of the steel mills, glass factories and other plants that once employed tens of thousands along the Ohio River are closed, but officials believe landing the $5.7 billion ethane cracker complex in Belmont County would allow Ohio and West Virginia to become manufacturing powerhouses once again.
So plentiful is the oil and natural gas in the region that those discussing the matter in Wheeling Tuesday believe they are dealing with what can become known as “Shale Valley” – much like the San Francisco Bay area has become known as “Silicon Valley.”
“It’s a once in several lifetimes opportunity. If we get it right with the first facility, more will come,” John Molinaro, president and CEO of the Appalachian Partnership for Economic Growth, said during the discussion, which featured numerous elected officials, business leaders, labor representatives and members of the higher education community.
In September, officials with Thailand-based PTT Global Chemical agreed to…