The Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) has cancelled permits to drill solution mining wells in Monroe County, Ohio, US, associated with the Mountaineer NGL Storage project.
The cancellation was requested by the Powhatan Salt Company, which would have drilled the wells. The caverns left behind would have been used by Mountaineer to store natural gas liquids (NGL), which plans to supply Ohio’s petrochemicals industry.
Environmental law organisation Earthjustice says that the cancellation request came as a result of a lawsuit which it filed against ODNR on behalf of a coalition of Ohio environmental groups, which believe that the storage facility will threaten the river and drinking water supplies. The lawsuit claims that ODNR issued the permits without public notice, in violation of their own regulations.
Tom Sanzillo, director of finance at the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA), speculates that the project may be in trouble.
‘In the face of having to invest more to develop the Mountaineer Storage Project the sponsor pulled the plug. This is a solid market signal that plans for a petrochemical buildout in Ohio and western Pennsylvania are on shaky ground. Local and state economic development officials would serve the public better by looking for jobs and taxes in other areas of the economy that are actually profitable and growing and can be good neighbors to the communities that host them,’ he says in a statement.
However, Powhatan Salt Company can reapply for the permits according to the cancellation notice, and Earthjustice says in its statement that the company will now have to go through the required public notice, comment, draft permitting, and fact sheet preparation in order to receive the permits, unlike previously.
In July, Mountaineer NGL Storage signed a precedent agreement with PTTGCA, the US subsidiary of Thai company PTT Global Chemical, to develop the storage facility and provide storage and transport services for PTTGCA’s petrochemical complex in Dilles Bottom, Ohio Valley, and has signed several other supply deals.
Neither Energy Storage Ventures nor its subsidiary Mountaineer NGL Storage could be reached for comment.