Aither Chemicals to Announce WV Ethane Cracker Plant

Aither Chemicals logoOne of the companies that has been sniffing around the concept of building an ethane cracker plant in the Marcellus/Utica region is Aither Chemicals. MDN wrote about Aither’s interest in building a cracker plant in West Virginia back in January (see this MDN story). Aither retained a Pittsburgh investment firm to help them secure funding for the project.

It appears Aither has found a couple of partners and will make an announcement on Wednesday about their plan to build an ethane cracker plant in Institute Industrial Park, located near Charleston, WV. One of the partners is the current owner of the site: Bayer CropScience. The other partner is pipeline giant MarkWest Energy.

South Charleston-based Aither Chemicals is expected to announce plans…to build a $300 million ethane catalytic "cracker" plant that would employ up to 200 workers at the Institute Industrial Park by 2015, according to state officials and economic development leaders familiar with the deal.

Aither plans to partner with Bayer CropScience and MarkWest Energy on the cracker project. The petrochemical facility would convert ethane from the Marcellus Shale into ethylene, which is used to make plastics.

A news conference to announce the Institute cracker was scheduled initially for Monday, but might be pushed back to Wednesday.

"We are planning to have some kind of announcement Wednesday," Aither CEO Len Dolhert said [last] Friday afternoon. "Things are in the works. There are moving components, and we need to get those things arranged."*

*The Charleston Gazette (Mar 16, 2012) – Ethane cracker plant might be built in Institute