JobsOhio, Ohio Southeast Economic Development invested $30M in region

Projects included Colgate-Palmolive expansion in Guernsey County, cracker plant in Belmont County

Rick Stillion
The Daily Jeffersonian
JobsOhio and Ohio Southeast Economic Development were involved with a $1.2 million investment by Colgate-Palmolive in machinery and equipment to expand its hand soap production.

Ohio Southeast Economic Development and JobsOhio, the state’s private economic development corporation, investigated more than $30 million in southeastern Ohio during 2020.

The investments included projects in Guernsey and Belmont counties.

The investments through JobsOhio and Ohio Southeast Economic Development are designed to drive job creation and new capital investment in the state.

Locally, JobsOhio and Ohio Southeast Economic Development were involved with a $1.2 million investment by Colgate-Palmolive in machinery and equipment to expand its hand soap production, and a $20 million grant for preparation at a proposed cracker plant site in Belmont County.

“The businesses we helped pledged to create 875 new jobs and invest over $382 million in fixed assets,” said Mike Jacoby, Ohio Southeast Economic Development president. “To support those projects, our organization helped secure $6.8 million of support from JobsOhio and $1,145,728 from the State of Ohio in assistance programs.

"When we add in COVID-19 response programs for cash-strapped businesses and speculative site and building development programs, we brought over $30 million to the region last year.”

The Colgate-Palmolive campany in Cambridge.

JobsOhio and Ohio Southeast supported 49 business expansions and locations in 2020 — a record high for Southeast Ohio. They also helped retain 6,095 jobs.

The Phase I investment at Colgate-Palmolive was for the production of liquid hand soap at the Cambridge facility which manufactures cleaners, dish detergents, and fabric conditioners in addition to the liquid hand soap.

“The Colgate-Palmolive Cambridge team is very excited for the investment in our site and our team,” Plant Manager Rick Davis said at the time of the announcement.

"We and our partners at JobsOhio appreciate Colgate-Palmolive’s confidence in Southeast Ohio and the talented workforce in Guernsey County,” said Jacoby. “The Ohio Development Services Agency’s tax credit will play an essential role in bringing Colgate-Palmolive’s Cambridge facility the latest production equipment as well as 25 new jobs.”

Colgate-Palmolive is one of the major employers in Guernsey County with more than 300 full-time employees. The investment occurred during an increased demand for liquid hand soap amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Township of Cambridge also received a grant of $342,600 for upgrades to Desmond Drive and Guernsey Industrial Boulevard.

Whether giving existing companies a place to grow or attracting new companies, having ready sites and buildings is critical to a community’s economic development effort.

In Belmont County, a $20 million grant was announced in February 2020 for partners PTT Global Chemical America and Daelim Chemical USA to construct a cracker plant.

“Our regional economic development strategic plan, identified the lack of ready sites and buildings as a priority, and as a region, we have advocated for new tools,” Jacoby said. “Fortunately, in the two years since the prosperity planning process was launched, we have gone from zero programs to support speculative site and building development to three programs.”

The funds were paid directly to Bechtel Corp. for site preparation at a Dilles Bottom location along the Ohio River.

This is an example of a PTT Global Chemical petrochemical complex that the Thai-based company is considering building in Belmont County along the Ohio River in eastern Ohio.If constructed the project would represent a multibillion-dollar investment, thousands of construction jobs, and a couple hundred permanent jobs. The investment would also redevelop the site of FirstEnergy's former Burger Power Plant, which was retired in late 2011.

Unfortunately, Daelim Chemical USA announced in July 2020 that it was withdrawing from the project due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and volatile oil prices.

“JobsOhio continues working closely with PTTGCA to bring the project to a successful final investment decision,” said JobsOhio in a press release. “PTTGCA has expressed its belief in the long-term strategic importance of this transformational project, which would bring billions in investment while creating thousands of construction jobs and hundreds of permanent jobs.”

Despite agreements with mountaineer NGL Storage and Range Resources Appalachia LLC to provide feedstock and infrastructure for the proposed plan prior to the end of 2020, the plans were again delayed indefinitely in November.

A cracker plant cracks ethane molecules in natural gas to produce feedstock for plastics manufacturers and other petrochemical products.

The 2020 JobsOhio investments included $6,824,000 in project incentives, $10,600,000 in COVID response programs and $13,200,000 in site development awards.