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PTTGCA partners with supplier Range Resources

ST. CLAIRSVILLE — PTT Global Chemical America established a long-term contract with Range Resources Appalachia LLC to supply feedstock for its proposed ethane cracker plant in Belmont County.

Range will provide 15,000 barrels per day of ethane as feedstock for the planned petrochemical complex along the Ohio River at Dilles Bottom. The ethane supplied by Range will be utilized by PTTGC to manufacture polyethylene, one of the key resins used to produce plastics.

The agreement is predicated upon PTTGCA reaching a final investment decision for the project.

“We’re very pleased to hear this news,” county Commissioner J.P. Dutton said during a regular meeting Wednesday. “This is another pretty big announcement from the project team.”

The plans have encountered setbacks, including the COVID-19 pandemic and the withdrawal in July of PTT’s partner, Daelim Chemical USA.

However, Dutton also pointed out other steps forward by PTT, including an agreement with Mountaineer NGL Storage in Monroe County for ethane storage capacity as well as work on the proposed site.

“That encourages us,” Dutton added. “Another great announcement from the project team as they inch closer to making a final determination.”

According to a statement from PTT, the project will include world-scale chemical manufacturing facilities to produce finished plastic resin and will be capable of producing 1.6 million metric tonnes annually of polyethylene plastic resin used to make plastic products. The facility is expected to create hundreds of jobs, as well as thousands of construction jobs over the five-year period of construction.

In other matters, the commissioners also increased payment to foster care families from $22 daily to $32 per day effective Oct. 1, and to reimburse Belmont County licensed child care.

Belmont County Department of Job and Family Services Director Jeff Felton said the goal is to increase the number of children in Belmont County custody with a foster home actually in Belmont County.

He said there are usually between 40 and 45 children in custody during any one time.

He said of the 44 children in custody, 28 children are placed in foster homes, six are in Belmont County foster homes.

“We want to clearly increase that number,” Felton said, adding that remaining in familiar surroundings is always optimal for children while the agency works on how best to arrange reunification with their families or other permanent placement. “It’s always better to keep kids in the same neighborhood, the same community, the same schools, all that, so keeping them in the county is a top priority for us.”

Felton added foster mothers are no longer strictly stay-at-home and both parents very often work and have other factors to deal with.

“When you have a preschooler, child care is one of the most significant expenses,” he said. “Foster parents shouldn’t really earn a living from foster care per diem, but it shouldn’t cost anything either to become a foster parent. We ask a lot of them as-is to care for these children, who’ve suffered significant trauma, and we want to support them in any way we can financially.”

“When we need a foster home or placement for a child who can’t remain in their own home, they’re the ones who get the phone calls,” Felton said.

“It seems very reasonable,” Commissioner Jerry Echemann said. In answer to another question from Echemann, Felton said the per diem pay would also continue to be given to those families outside Belmont County who are fostering Belmont County children. Felton added the average cost of purchasing foster care from a private network is close to $90 daily.

He said there are currently 32 licensed foster homes in Belmont County.

The chief reasons for taking children into foster custody include substance abuse on the part of the parents and general neglect issues.

To become a foster parent, call 740-695-1075. The 36-hour course is held during three weekends in St. Clairsville.

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