UPDATE: Progress Continues on Ethane Cracker Facility at Wood County, WV

by Duane Nichols on August 27, 2014

Appalachian Shale Cracker Enterprise (ASCENT)

WV-DEP Accepts Voluntary Remediation Program Application from ASCENT

UPDATE 8/26/2014, From TheNewsCenter, WTAP, Parkersburg, WV

Environmental officials are calling it a promising step toward bringing the proposed cracker plant to Wood County. The West Virginia DEP accepted a Voluntary Remediation Program application on August 25, 2014. The application is from the Texas company exploring the development of an ethane cracker plant in Washington.

ASCENT is hoping to get a certificate from the DEP as both parties work together to find health risks associated with the cracker plant and set standards for work to be done at the site.

“It will bring jobs to the community and through the volunteer remediation program they will be able to remediate their contamination of the site,” says Erin Brittain, with the WVDEP. Brittain says it should take about a month for the application to be reviewed and approved.

Then, ASCENT and the DEP would sign a volunteer remediation agreement, recognizing the approval of the application.


The site consists of 363 acres, 194 of which are currently owned by ASCENT. Some 169 acres currently owned by Sabic will be transferred to ASCENT in November 2015. The West Virginia DEP says all of the property will be used for an industrial facility with an ethane cracker and three polyethylene plants.


Update 6/04/2014

Mark Hall is a West Virginia native. He also manages a Cabell county operation for Braskem, one of two companies involved with Odebrecht on development of an ethane cracker a few miles south of Parkersburg.  While he did not have new details for the Polymer Alliance Zone, he says the second of three phases of the plant’s development has so far been successful.

“The financing is huge,” Hall told the PAZ’s members. “We can’t ask for money without raw material. At the end of the day, we have to prove we can make product once we build this facility, once we have some customers. We have to have some kind of infrastructure that says, ‘now you’ve got the ethane, now you can get it to the facility.”

A recent deal with Antero Resources helped to ensure Odebrecht had those raw materials.

Hall spoke to the annual meeting of the PAZ’s annual meeting, and the first since last November’s announcement of the cracker coming to West Virginia. In spite of the positive announcements, actual construction is still a long way off, but the signs of progress toward that construction is encouraging to both business and the community.


UPDATE 5/15/2014

The Appalachian Shale Cracker Enterprise LLC (ASCENT) is seeking an air quality permit and a permit to evaluate the site of the proposed plant under the state’s Voluntary Remediation Program:

Six months and cracker plant plans are still moving forward. Last November 14th Odebrecht announced plans to build an ethane “cracker” in Wood County. The latest development is that Ascent, the company occupying the complex, has now submitted applications for two permits.

One is an air quality permit and the other is for an evaluation under West Virginia’s remediation program. Also since last fall, ownership of the current site of the Sabic plant in Washington, West Virginia was transferred to Ascent last January.

One issue involves the land Sabic had allowed the Tri-C program to use for its ball fields. It’s hoped a new site can be found for the baseball and softball teams to play. The permits are part of an ongoing feasibility study for plant construction.

The ASCENT parent, Odebrecht, announced plans last fall to develop a cracker facility, three polyethylene plants and associated infrastructure for water treatment and energy co-generation in Wood County. Cracker plants crack or convert ethane into ethylene, a widely used chemical compound. (Ethane is a byproduct of natural gas drilling & fracking, in some regions of the Marcellus shale territory.)

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