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WV Trip to Brazil Reaffirms Cracker Plant: “Comfort Level Strong”

high comfort levelLast week West Virginia Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin led a trade delegation on a junket to Brazil to talk with officials from Odebrecht and Braskem about the $3 billion proposed ethane cracker plant/petrochemical complex the companies are planning for Parkersburg, WV (see WV Gov. Tomblin Leads Trade Mission to Brazil re Cracker Plant). Accompanying Tomblin on the trip were his wife, Secretary of Commerce Keith Burdette and several others. Fresh back from the trip both Tomblin and Burdette have very encouraging comments. Burdette in particular effused about the ASCENT cracker plant project, saying: “Our comfort level [that the project will happen] is very strong.” Burdette also said (perhaps in response to criticisms about an expensive taxpayer-funded trip to Brazil) that it was important for WV officials to spend time in their offices–as a courtesy and to show commitment to a project that the company is spending beaucoup bucks on in WV…
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New PA Senate Leader Says Severance Tax Could Kill Cracker Plant

It’s looking better and better that Pennsylvania Republicans will not cave to pressure to enact a Marcellus-killing severance tax proposed by Democrat Governor-elect Tom Wolf. Last week Republicans booted RINO Dominic Pileggi (Philly area) from his leadership post and replaced him with Sen. Jake Corman from Centre County as the new majority leader. Corman says if a severance tax is enacted, it may well kill the prospects for Shell’s ethane cracker plant and Corman wants to ensure that plant gets built…
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Shell (Finally) Buys Site for Cracker Plant in Beaver County, PA

We’re still a long way from a decision by Shell on whether or not they will build a $2-$3 billion ethane cracker plant in Beaver County, PA. However, today the company took another giant step forward in that process. Shell has told the current owner of the site, Horsehead Corporation, that Shell is exercising their option to buy the property…
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WV Gov. Tomblin Leads Trade Mission to Brazil re Cracker Plant

West Virginia Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin’s office has announced that the Governor and first lady, along with Keith Burdette, Secretary of the West Virginia Dept. of Commerce and several other officials, are going on a road trip to Brazil to babysit, er advance the ball on the ethane cracker plant planned for the Parkersburg, WV area by Brazilian company Odebrecht and its sister company Braskem. The trade delegation will discuss “next steps” with their counterparts–to ensure everything is on track. It’s also a nice little junket/vacation to get the Guv (a Democrat) out of town after his state essentially turned Republican underneath his feet in Tuesday’s election…
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Odebrecht WV Cracker Plant Decision “By End of 2015″

An update on the progress being made by Odebrecht and their planned ethane cracker plant and petrochemical manufacturing facility planned for Parkersburg (Wood County), WV. At the recent Global Plastics Summit in Chicago, Braskem (sister company to Odebrecht) vice president of business development, Renato Monteiro, said a final decision on building the proposed cracker plant will be made “by the end of 2015.” Here’s a few other tidbits about the cracker plant that came from Monteiro at the conference, including when the first PE (polyethylene) might be manufactured at the plant…
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Odebrect Signs Deal for Polyethylene Tech for WV Cracker Plant

Odebrecht continues to advance the ball toward building a world-class ethane cracker plant near Parkersburg, WV. MDN editor Jim Willis had the pleasure of meeting and talking with David Peebles, Odebrecht VP of business development and the guy working to make this project happen, at this year’s Shale Insight conference in Pittsburgh. Peebles said Odebrecht is still in the evaluation stage but that things are looking positive so far. Here’s another positive sign: INEOS Technologies, which licenses the technologies used in large petrochemical plants, announced they have just signed an agreement with Odebrect to provide polyethylene tech for the WV cracker plant…
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Shell Files Permit to Build Barge Facility at Cracker Plant Site

Something just coming to light now. In February of this year, Shell applied for a permit with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to build a barge facility on the Ohio River in Beaver County, PA at the site of Shell’s proposed ethane cracker. Is this yet another sign that Shell is finally getting serious about building the multi-billion dollar cracker plant in PA?…
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Odebrecht Moves Forward with WV Cracker Plant Plans

It's a done dealThe previously announced ethane cracker plant that is slated to be built near Parkersburg, WV is coming along very nicely, according to Odebrecht spokesman David Peebles. A talk at the West Virginia Chamber of Commerce’s Annual Meeting and Business Summit at The Greenbrier last week, along with conversations with the Parkersburg News and Sentinel, provided some key details about just where the project sits. Once again MDN notices how quickly (and convincingly) the Odebrecht cracker project is progressing after being announced just last fall, as opposed to the ponderous path being taken by Shell with their planned cracker plant, announced 2 1/2 years ago. Neither plant is a done deal, yet. But in light of Odebrecht’s full-speed-ahead attitude and news from last week, it sure seems like the WV cracker is a lot closer to being a done deal than the Shell cracker…
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Antero Waits for NE Cracker Plants, Pipeline to Sell Ethane

Antero Resources is a big and getting bigger driller focused on the Marcellus and Utica Shale region. The company now has 493,000 acres leased and projects they could potentially drill wells on up to 5,000 locations across that acreage (see Antero Boasts 5K Potential Drilling Locations in Marcellus/Utica). From the wells already drilled, Antero is now pumping (or close to pumping) 1 billion cubic feet of natural gas per day (see MDN Welcomes Antero Resources to the 1 Bcf/d Club). Since a lot of Antero’s operations are in the “wet gas” area, they also produce a lot of ethane. Right now that ethane is largely considered a “waste product” because they can’t readily sell it. However, that change. The question is, when?…
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Odebrecht Cracker Plant Will be Magnet for Downstream Development

David Peebles, VP of business development for Odebrecht, presented a plan for downstream development related to his company’s proposed ethane cracker plant in Parkersburg, WV at the Department of Energy Quadrennial Energy Review Public Meeting held at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh on July 21st. The presentation shows how the proposed Odebrecht $2B+ ethane cracker plant is just the beginning of “clusters” of downstream manufacturing facilities that will be built. The cracker plant will act as a magnet for other businesses. Peebles presented the plan to DOE Sec. Ernest Moniz. And, we happen to have a copy!…
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Shell Takes a Few More Baby Steps Toward PA Ethane Cracker Plant

A small bit of progress to report on the Shell ethane cracker plant planned for Monaca (Beaver County), PA. According to comments made by Shell Chemicals Executive Vice President Graham van’t Hoff at the American Chemistry Council’s Annual Meeting last week in Colorado, Shell has made a few more baby steps toward making the cracker plant a reality–but they still aren’t committed to it just yet. Here’s the steps recently taken…
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Shell Meetings Today in Beaver County, PA on Ethane Cracker Plant

Shell is holding two public meetings today at the Shadow Lakes club in Hopewell (Beaver County), PA to discuss the possibility of building a multi-billion dollar ethane cracker plant in Monaca, PA. The meetings, according to Shell, are not an indicator that Shell has decided to move forward with the project. The meetings are, according to Shell, a way for the company to hear concerns from the people who live in the area and would potentially be affected by the plant, and for Shell to share information on where the project stands at this point and what’s ahead. It’s all about good, two-way communication.

More details about the meetings today, and a brief background on the proposed Shell ethane cracker…
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Antero to Provide 50% Ethane Needed at Parkersburg Cracker Plant

halfway thereThe ethane cracker plant planned for Parkersburg (Wood County), WV, to be built by Odebrecht and operated by Odebrecht subsidiary Braskem America, took another giant step closer to reality yesterday. Powerhouse Marcellus/Utica driller Antero Resources announced they will provide 30,000 barrels per day of ethane for the proposed new plant when/if it gets built. That’s half of what the plant needs to operate. Antero Resources CEO Paul Rady was joined by Odebrecht VP of business development David Peebles on stage at the Marcellus to Manufacturing Ethane Development Conference at the Charleston Civic Center for the big announcement yesterday. WV Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin took to the stage to crow about the deal too (he’s earned the right).

It was just Monday of last week that MDN observed that the Odebrect cracker plant just “feels” like it’s going to happen (see Odebrecht’s WV Ethane Cracker has The Big Mo–Momentum). Yesterday’s Antero announcement is more evidence of that. Below is the official Antero announcement about their ethane contribution to the proposed new cracker, along with a report of who said what about the deal at yesterday’s Charleston conference…
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Cracker Plant Talk Spurs Economic Growth in Beaver County, PA

Over the past couple of years the prospects for an ethane cracker plant in Beaver County, PA have swung from wild optimism to wild pessimism and everything in between. Most recently the pendulum has once again tilted negative (see Shell’s Shale Pessimism Signals Worry for Some re PA Cracker). But don’t talk negative to the businesses setting up shop and expanding in Beaver County. The mere talk that it’s possible Shell will build the $2-$3 billion ethane cracker in Monaca has caused a significant uptick in the local economy. One Realtor has said for businesses looking to get a piece of the coming economic pie–you’re already late! Many have already grabbed up space and it’s increasingly difficult to find commercial real estate in the county.

Here is the story of the economic boom already under way in Beaver County just from talk–talk that Shell may build a cracker plant there…
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Report: Coming Economic Miracle in WV from Ethane Cracker Plant

In February MDN told you about a newly released research report from Tom Witt, economist and former director of West Virginia University’s Bureau of Business and Economic Research and professor emeritus at WVU. Witt, now a private consultant, took a close look at realistic numbers for how many jobs and how much money the proposed Odebrecht ethane cracker and associated petrochemical plants will generate for WV and the region (see Economist Releases Report on WV Cracker Plant’s Economic Impact). The numbers are truly astonishing.

In February we could not get our hands a copy of the study, which is titled “Building Value from Shale Gas: The Promise of Expanding Petrochemicals in West Virginia.” We now have a full copy and have embedded it below. We also have an editorial written by Witt and published a few days ago describing the study and his take on the coming economic miracle in WV from Odebrecht’s ethane cracker plant…
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Economist Releases Report on WV Cracker Plant’s Economic Impact

West Virginia’s coming ethane cracker plant continues to generate positive economic news. Yesterday the former director of West Virginia University’s Bureau of Business and Economic Research and professor emeritus at WVU, Tom Witt, released a study he conducted on behalf of Braskem America (i.e. Odebrecht, the company building the cracker). The new study details specifics for how many jobs and how much money the proposed cracker and associated petrochemical plants will generate. And it’s truly astonishing.

Here’s an overview of the economic miracle about to hit WV (and beyond)…
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