WV Gov. Tomblin Creates Task Force to Encourage Marcellus Gas Chemical Manufacturing

West Virginia Governor Early Ray Tomblin wants to leverage Marcellus Shale drilling in his state as much as possible, and he’s created a new task force to encourage it.

Acting Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin signed an executive order creating a Marcellus to Manufacturing Task Force, composed largely of key industry leaders. Its main goal: find ways to attract and encourage employers that convert ethane, a compound removed from natural gas during the refining process, into the widely used chemical compound ethylene.

“This, in effect, gives West Virginia a double resource and a double opportunity,” Tomblin said at a Capitol press conference Tuesday. “We could explore the possibility of reinvigorating our manufacturing sector.”

The task force also would seek to lure or aid existing in-state businesses that manufacture products with ethylene. For its mission, the task force would weigh the cost of thermal or steam cracking, the process used to convert these chemicals. It would also assess the state’s existing infrastructure—pipelines, storage tanks, suitable plant facilities—for developing this industry.*

*Herald-Dispatch (Feb 15) – Tomblin proposes Marcellus task force