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Parkersburg Cracker Plant Decision May Not Come in 2015 After All

Last week MDN noted having spotted the first cloud over the Odebrect project to build a $3 billion ethane/petrochemical plant near Parkersburg, WV (see First Cloud Appears for Odebrect WV Ethane Cracker Plant Project). Ostensibly it is the low price of oil that’s causing Odebrecht to reconsider whether or not they will move forward with the project. As we pointed out, “reevaluating” doesn’t mean they’ve decided not to move forward. It just means they’re taking their time. There is, however, a marked change in the “feeling” about this project. Prior to recent comments by Odebrecht the very strong presumption is that the project will proceed. Now? That presumption is no longer quite so strong. WV officials, from both the state and from Wood County where the cracker is due to be built, weighed in with their observation that it’s not the location of the cracker that’s in question…
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First Cloud Appears for Odebrect WV Ethane Cracker Plant Project

Hmmm. Is there a cloud on the horizon over the Odebrecht ethane cracker project proposed for Parkersburg, WV? Until now every single thing we’ve read or heard (or discussions we’ve had with David Peebles from Odebrecht) have indicated the WV ethane cracker project is full speed ahead, pedal to the metal. It was only at the tail end of 2013 that the project was announced (see WV Announces Brazilian Company to Build Ethane Cracker Complex). The $4 billion project will construct not only an ethane cracker, but several petrochemical plants as well (see Odebrect Cracker Aims to Attract Chemical/Plastics Manufacturing). In fairness, Odebrecht has said a final decision won’t be made until later this year (see Odebrecht WV Cracker Plant Decision “By End of 2015?). And until now, it certainly seemed like this project, even more than the Shell cracker in Pennsylvania, has had the momentum. Then we read this…
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Philly Clean Air Council “Studies” Shell Cracker Plant Impacts

The Philadelphia-based Clean Air Council, a partisan, anti-drilling organization, has just issued a so-called Health Impact Assessment (HIA) for the proposed Shell ethane cracker plant in Monaca, PA (full copy embedded below). The so-called HIA has a long list of “recommendations” for Shell, most of which will cost big bucks to implement. The HIA has no official standing and Shell can completely ignore it if they so choose. However, Shell says they’re studying it now and will consider the information it conveys as they continue to evaluate their plans to build a $2-$3 billion ethane cracker near Pittsburgh. Below we have the press release from the anti-drilling Clean Air Council, along with some initial response from Shell…
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WV/OH Officials Going on Field Trip to Prepare for Cracker Plant

The Odebrecht ethane cracker plant planned for the Parkersburg, WV area continues to walk/smell/act/behave like it’s the real deal. The latest evidence: Odebrecht has told area officials around Parkersburg, you need to be prepared for when the 100% official announcement comes, cause at that point, things will happen fast. So area officials are boning up now to be prepared for an influx of people and jobs–both a good thing, and a challenge. Area officials from Wood County, WV and neighboring Washington County, OH will head to the bitter-cold north country–Minot, North Dakota–in January (!) to see how that community has dealt with a rapidly expanding population and influx of new jobs due to the Bakken Shale…
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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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