The U.S. subsidiary of Thailand’s PTT Global Chemical (PTTGC) is planning to build a major new petrochemical complex in Ohio.

State Governor John R. Kasich said that the petrochemical and refining company is ready to invest $100 million to conduct detailed engineering design for a world-scale ethane cracker on the west bank of the Ohio River in Belmont County.

The facility would convert ethane extracted from the region’s Marcellus and Utica Shale formations into ethylene, a key building block for the petrochemical industry. The colorless gas is used in the production of plastics and resins contained in everyday items such as food and product packaging, textiles and pharmaceuticals.

PTTGC America will spend up to 12 months weighing up the feasibility of the project.

The company has signed contracts with two consortiums of engineering firms led by Bechtel Enterprises Holdings Inc. and Fluor Corp., which will conduct the preliminary front-end engineering design work and cost estimates. It has also signed an option agreement for key properties in Mead Township, where the petrochemical complex would be built.

“Building an ethane gas cracker in Eastern Ohio has the ability to be a real game changer for our economy as we make our state a hub for the energy industry,” Kasich commented. “The company’s decision to start the engineering phase of this potential project is an enormous step toward making this project a reality.”

PTTGC is expected to make a final investment decision in 2016 or 2017. If the project goes ahead, construction of the facility will take about three and a half years.