CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Officials with Odebrecht, the Brazilian company that’s developing a petrochemical complex in Wood County, will visit West Virginia’s capital city as early as this week to update state lawmakers and other officials on the project’s progress.

State Commerce Secretary Keith Burdette said, much like a similar complex Shell is developing in Pennsylvania, the Washington, W.Va. project will have a wide reach — even beyond the thousands of jobs created during construction and hundreds of permanent positions needed for the complex, near Parkersburg, which could include an ethane cracker, three polyethylene plants and related infrastructure.

“We drew some concentric circles from both the site in Parkersburg and the site in Beaver, Pennsylvania to see what the impact zones could be in West Virginia and, I think, it was 90 percent of the state was in one of those 150 mile zones,” said Burdette.

The company Odebrecht has established in West Virginia, Appalachian Shale Cracker Enterprise or Ascent, closed on the purchase of the property for the complex, land near DuPont, at the end of December.  The purchase price was $10.9 million.

Burdette said it’s an important step.  “We’re halfway there, in my opinion, we’re halfway there,” he said, before quickly admitting, “There’s a lot of work to be done.”

For Ascent, the next phase of the project, Burdette said, will focus on permitting.  He said it could take between 16 months and up to two years to secure all of the needed federal and state permits for the massive project which was first announced publicly last November.

For West Virginia, Burdette said the immediate focus will be on workforce development issues.

In the long term, he said the Mountain State will have to invest in infrastructure to support the shale gas industry.  Such gas infrastructure, he said, is already in place along the Gulf Coast, for example, where companies can tie into an existing pipeline system.

“In this region of the country, largely, that doesn’t exist, so we’re going to have to figure out how we work with the private sector and other suppliers and accomplish that goal, not just for a facility, but for an industry.”  Such building, Burdette said, could lead to future developments like the Ascent project.

“We think there could be another announcement down the road.  We know for a fact there are other companies still looking at this region to do the same thing, so there could be a third,” said Burdette.

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  • Mason County Contrarian

    I have to agree with Larry that this thing is never going to happen.

    With the recent chem spill in the Elk, there will be even more attention given to the possible effects this cracker could have upon water supplies.

    Based on his appearances at innumerable pressers, I don't have a lot of confidence in anything coming out of the Governor's Mansion.

    "Welcome, my friends. I am Mr. Tomblin, your host. Welcome to Fantasy Cracker."

  • Harpers Ferry

    As a white man, I am deeply offended by the term "cracker". I intend to bring a lawsuit against the natural gas companies and I intend on calling Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton to further my cause!

    • Aaron

      Why? The term "cracker" was used for southern cowmen due to their 'cracking whips' to drive cattle in the south east long before it became a racial term.

  • Jason412

    Your comment is awaiting moderation.
    Invest in infrastructure is an understatement. The roads in WV aren't built to handle the traffic that natural gas brings, and as such that should be priority #1 because if the trucks from all over the region can't safely get to the cracker to convert the gas then it's just going to lead to problem after problem. Problems I'm sure wont proactively be addressed. But in my eyes with more road construction we would have even more job opportunities, the cracker brings jobs, the infrastructure construction to support it brings jobs.

    I'll have to read up on the traffic that a cracker requires but fact is the roads here aren't even prepared for just the drilling, regardless of the cracker. If you have 1,000-3,000 heavy trucks making one way trips just to drill a Horizontal Well with High Volume Hydraulic Fracturing it would stand to reason the number will be substantially higher when you have trucks not only drilling but traveling to and from the cracker.

    Anyone looking for credible non-gas industry non-anti fracking information, The NY Department of Conservation has a very detailed PDF filled with information regarding the gas industry.

    The transportation section can be found here:

    http :// www.dec. ny. gov/docs/materials_minerals_pdf/rdsgeisch6b0911 . pdf (take the spaces out)
    Section 6.11

    And the entire thing found here:
    http ://www .dec .ny. gov/energy/75370 .html (Take the spaces out)

    Although it's hundreds of pages long, I encourage everyone to read it in its entirety as it dispels a lot of myths that are actively pushed by the gas industry as well as anti-fracking activists. I started reading it yesterday and am surprised that such a wealth of independent information was so hard to find.

    • Aaron

      In all fairness, the state of NY has had a moratorium on natural gas fracking since 2008. As their government has taken a clear stance against drilling utilizing them as a source is questionable at best.

      • Aaron

        Am I wrong regarding the state of New York Jason? According to one an article linked to one of the numerous sources you’ve posted, numerous opponents of fracking showed up at Governor Andrew Cumo’s recent State of the State address to oppose and according to the New York media, they shouldn’t have bothered as insiders say Cumo has no intention of allowing the process.

        All of this despite numerous communities and political leaders in upstate New York’s pleas to at the very least look into the issue. When you couple that with the fact that large parts of New York are outlawing hydrofracking waste on their roads, it’s easy to see the direction New York, tied for the 4th most liberal state in American is headed.

        I know it upsets you that I find your postings less than credible but above is why. You find selective information to support your current position but the problem is, most are either out of context, outdated or not completely relevant to the conversation. If you want to be found credible perhaps you should trying to overwhelm others and when you post links, make sure they’re relevant.

        • Jason412

          On Governor Cuomo not allowing the process, any source on that information? The only thing I can find in the NY media identifies the source of that information as "an authoritative oil-and-gas industry source involved in Pennsylvania-based energy production"

          But just let me double check, the media is credible when they have information "from an insider" about what the Governor's thinking, but not when they say something about fracking? Now that's a fine example of using the media when it benefits you and rejecting it when it doesn't.

          Regardless, I don't know if you're aware, but Governor isn't a lifelong position.

          In the article I'm reading, which sounds like the one you read, it says Cuomo was against it "even though President Obama and Environmental Conservation Commissioner Joseph Martens said it can be done safely"

          Joseph Martens is the Commissioner of NY DEC, and the same man who met with PA DEP and said bad cement was the problem in Dimock. He obviously thinks it can be done safely, so why would the report I linked in my first post be against fracking?

          If the Governor's against it, and the NY DEC Commissioner is publicly for it, and the NY DEC released the report I posted it would stand to reason the reason the reason why NY DEC released the report was to convince the governor it's safe.

          • Aaron

            I read 3 articles this morning and excerpts from a couple of his SOTU speeches as well as some press releases from various offices not only in Albany but in several counties. Unlike you, I'm comfortable with what I say thus I do not feel the need to post links to PDF's or stories to somehow prove what I'm saying. The way I see it, you can either agree or disagree and respond accordingly. Either way I don't really care.

            You feel the need to post endlessly with numerous links and in the words of another poster; I can read War and Peace in less time than decipher your post. That is why few engage you which in my humble opinion is your point. You think if you overwhelm with others with paperwork that you win the argument. Of course, despite your claims otherwise, I think you're anti-gas as well.

            It's been my experience when one makes a claim that are not against a subject, but what they really want is to see specific guidelines followed that person is far more often than not against the subject. In my humble opinion, despite your repeated claims that you support drilling, based on the multitude of your post, I believe you are being dishonest in that claim. The thing is, I don’t really care. As I said, I do not find you credible. Perhaps if I believed you, I might feel different but as it is, I do not.

            Anything else?

        • Jason412

          Anything within the last 5 or 10 years is very relevant to fracking. If something happens today, they wont have tests, or information on it tomorrow. The gas industry claims that fracking has changed very little in the last 50 years, and not at all in the last 20. So an article from anytime in the 2000's would certainly be relevant.

          You never answered my question, whats your credible source? I've asked you numerous times, and despite you bashing the credibility of my sources, you seem to have none of your own. Besides, of course, the gas industry employee who says it takes 20 trucks to drill a well, that cement had nothing to do with Dimock PA, and that Fracknation is the best possible source of information out there.

          If in 2011 if it takes 1,000-3,000 trucks to drill a well it's not like in the beginning of 2014 it's going to be 20.

          If in 2007 bad cement lead to a house exploding and water being contaminated, in 2014 it's still done exactly the same way. Nothing has changed. Thus making something from 2007 as relevant as if it happened yesterday.

          It doesn't upset me you saying the sources aren't credible. If you said "here is why that's not credible, here is why, and here is a credible source" I would read it. Instead you say "not credible" and add absolutely nothing of any informational value. So in that aspect I value your opinion very little.

          The fact you backed, and continue to back a guy, who told a bold faced lie then tried to explain it by saying he was talking about something else shows you've obviously already decided your stance on the situation.

          If I post any kind of "selective information" it's because it would be absurd to post a 300 page PDF, a 5 page article, or anything of the sort. I post the links, so people can see what I quoted in it's original context. I expect anyone that is interested enough in the subject will have no problem looking at the originating link.

          You keep harping on the NY, I understand. So I found sources from other states. OH DNR, PA DEP, and EPA also not credible? Or are now you saying their irrelevant?

          All I'm asking is for you to make a point. Does it not take 1,000-3,000 trucks? If it doesn't, show me where it says that. Is the cement not to blame? If not, show me where it says that.

          You take WVRedneck's word as gospel, why? Because he works in the industry? And you're talking about people with vested interests not being credible. If anyone has a vested interest in the gas industry staying the same I would say its the guy who makes his living from it.

          • Aaron

            You haven't ask me anything on this young man because I've not entered into this debate. I never agree or disagreed with either you or WVredneck regarding the amount of water needed to frack a well so I'm not sure why your misrepresenting the facts on that. Is there a reason you're being less than honest on this issue?

      • Jason412

        What source is credible to you, Aaron? I lived in the center of the fracking boom, not credible. Friends work in gas industry, not credible. Wall Steet Journal, not credible. Forbes, not credible. NY Department of Conservation, not credible. PA Attorney General (someone who stands to benefit highly from siding with the gas industry), not credible.

        But to you, a guy who says it takes TWENTY trucks for an entire gas well, and says "Watch Fracknation to learn the truth" is credible. I know 100% positive from living there, from friends, from information that it takes 20 trucks is a bold faced lie, but you believe him because he works for the gas industry. Yeah, that's logical. He's taken a clear stance for gas, but he's credible while NY with a stance against gas is not credible? Please elaborate on that. And please watch the "fracknation" clip I posted in the other article and tell me how credible that is.

        I ask again, do I have to go work in the gas industry to know anything about it or have an opinion? Because clearly what you're telling me is we are only to trust the gas companies as they could do no wrong.

        Don't you think the state that doesn't already have millions of dollars invested in the industry, and wouldn't benefit by ignoring basic information would be the most credible?

        If you read the information, it's not against gas drilling it states what impacts it will have if the ban is lifted, which is being heavily considered by the state of NY. It wasn't a permanent ban.

        I'm not trying to start a debate as I don't really have time today, but I ask what is a credible source to you? Excluding gas industry employees, gas industry websites, and gas industry paid for documentaries like Fracknation?

        • Jason412

          Just want to correct that, it wasn't just the PA AG labeled not credible it was also the Grand Jury that had supplied the information.

          So citizens selected to be Grand Jurors from a state with more fracking then anywhere in the nation, also not credible.

          • Jason412

            Just to coincide my original point yesterday of bad cement being the cause of almost all of the problems associated with fracking.

            This is from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, it shows how bad cement lead to an explosion inside a house and the water being contaminated in 2007.

            http: // /ohio_methane_report_080901. pdf

            Your credible source said bad cement had nothing to do with Dimock, PA. Once again from the NY DEC, affirmed by the PA DEP and gas industry representatives(that means someone with credibility to you, Aaron).

            "Commissioner Martens met with Pennsylvania Department of
            Environmental Protection officials and natural gas company representatives so that their experiences
            could help inform New York’s 2011 Supplemental Generic Environmental Impact Statement process.

            Problems identified:

            • Dimock – Excessive pressures and improperly or insufficiently cemented casings"

            I'm not asking anyone to take my word for it, the information is there it's just not out in the open and what is out in the open is immediately labeled anti-fracking which is why I post the quotes and include links.

            Here is some words from the EPA about problems in Pavilion, Wyoming

            "Ground water from the upper Wind River Formation is
            the principal source of domestic, municipal, and stock
            (ranching, agriculture) water in the Pavillion area (WY
            State Water Plan 2003). The Wind River Formation
            meets the definition of an Underground Source of
            Drinking Water (USDW) under the United States Code
            of Federal Regulations, Title 40, Section 144.3. Fluids used for hydraulic fracturing were
            injected directly into the Wind River Formation."


            Yeah, the gas industry doesn't need any more regulations. Who cares if half-assed cement leads to exploding houses or they inject fracking fluids directly into a water source.

            Not like the EPA, OH DNR, PA DEP, or NY DEC are credible though. I understand.

          • Jason412

            Aaron, read the introduction of that PDF. This whole thing was released with the expectation that the ban will be lifted.

            Here I go with some of my not credible quotes

            From the Introduction
            "The Department
            has prepared this revised draft Supplemental Generic Environmental Impact Statement (SGEIS)
            to satisfy the requirements of the State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA) for some of
            these anticipated operations. In reviewing and processing permit applications for horizontal
            drilling and hydraulic fracturing in these deep, low-permeability formations, the Department
            would apply the findings and requirements of the SGEIS, including criteria and conditions for
            future approvals."

            Key words "the anticipated operations" and atthe end "for future approvals". So you're saying this is some big thing to to keep fracking out of NY. while they're saying WHEN, not if, they start allowing fracking again this is how it will be done.

            Provide me with a more credible source then a Government agency who oversees drilling permits and I'll read it.

    • Jason412

      Woops, metronews moderated me and when I pasted it to repost it I accidentally copied the "Your comment is awaiting moderation" Please ignore.

  • Jason412

    Invest in infrastructure is an understatement. The roads in WV aren't built to handle the traffic that natural gas brings, and as such that should be priority #1 because if the trucks from all over the region can't safely get to the cracker to convert the gas then it's just going to lead to problem after problem. Problems I'm sure wont proactively be addressed. But in my eyes with more road construction we would have even more job opportunities, the cracker brings jobs, the infrastructure construction to support it brings jobs.

    I'll have to read up on the traffic that a cracker requires but fact is the roads here aren't even prepared for just the drilling, regardless of the cracker. If you have 1,000-3,000 heavy trucks making one way trips just to drill a Horizontal Well with High Volume Hydraulic Fracturing it would stand to reason the number will be substantially higher when you have trucks not only drilling but traveling to and from the cracker.

    Anyone looking for credible non-gas industry non-anti fracking information, The NY Department of Conservation has a very detailed PDF filled with information regarding the gas industry.

    Although it's hundreds of pages long, I encourage everyone to read it in its entirety as it dispels a lot of myths that are actively pushed as fact in the comments section of this site. I started reading it yesterday and am surprised that such a wealth of independent information was so hard to find.

    • Aaron

      Perhaps you should travel around Wetzel, Monogalia, Doddridge, Marshall, Ohio and some of the other counties where drilling is occurring. Most have large pads where drilling occurrs and the gas is then transported by pipe to either a rail or barge storage facility. One of the largest in the state is partially complete at Natrium in Marshall County. You really should check it out.

    • wirerowe

      Jason the ethane is going to come via pipeline or river tanker mot trucks . The ethane is not where the cracker is. And I agree that New york has a ban on shale development so all of their data will make a case against it. While I agree with you that we need to be diligent in keeping an eye on the shale gas development and you are to be complemented for your passion on this, I do not consider you to be objective and knowledgeable on this issue. just my opinion.

      • Jason412

        I ask you as well, what is a credible source?

  • Larry

    I hate to be negative, but this thing will never happen.

    • wirerowe

      Larry it might not. Right now I think it is more likely to happen than not.

      • Larry

        Nah, it'll never go.

  • Hop'sHip

    A petrochemical plant coming to a state that has a well-earned and recently-enhanced reputation for lax environmental protection, and whose political leaders are willing to bend themselves in any direction to please the developers of the project. Now what could possibly go wrong here?

    • The bookman

      For the record, HH, are you for the placement of the cracker in Wood County, or against it?

      • wirerowe

        I believe this project has the potential to be a very good thing for economic activity in the state. With any petrochemical plant of this apparent magnitude due diligence will be needed on the review of air and water permits. I would hope that this project will be able to move forward but there are apparently a number of outstanding issues in addition to the environmental permits which will get a lot of scrutiny based on the details of this project.

      • Hop'sHip

        I'd need to know more details about it. Tell me this, bookman. Given this state's history of environmental abuse from out-of-state industrial interests, would you not agree that some level of cynicism is warranted?

        • Aaron

          Do understand that the initial permits required for this plant will be reviewed by the United States Environmental Protection Agency?

        • The bookman

          I'm not cynical by nature, nor am I naive enough to believe a South American company will take every precaution to guard against damaging our environment. But I believe that we have the capacity to encourage this investment, create jobs, and do so in a well regulated and deliberate way. You can look backward or you can move forward.

          In terms of the cracker, what information are you waiting for in making a decision? Would you be for it with the proper protections in place, or are you anti fossil fuel development?

  • Dale

    This is great! Sounds like scores of WVirginians currently working out of state on pipelines might be able to come home.

    • SamWvu304

      I totally disagree with your comment. All kinds of jobs brought to my area the last few years in the industry . However I don't see many "locals" getting these job opportunities. Before anyone roasts me for this,yes there are some,but far from thousands. Ive been in the industry since graduating in "01" and have yet to get work close to home. These companies will bring in the employees they want on the jobs. Just like now you see Oklahoma,Texas,Louisiana company trucks all over and those definitely are not West Virginians driving them. Leaving us in the cold.

  • ron "from morgantown"

    Score one for the Dems , I've been told this will be the largest private development project in state history . All thanks to the tireless work of Gov Tomlin and the Economic Development Office headed by long time Dem Keith Burdette . So while the Rep were spreading hate in the form of propaganda by suggesting WV couldn't compete economically because we don't have "right to work " and that the state is a "judicial hell hole " the Dems were doing their due diligence and working endlessly to land a 1B$ cracker plant et al to Wood County . We are the envy of the region as I'm sure other states , like Ohio , would have loved to land such a project . This is just the beginning of a manufacturing renaissance for our great state and we owe it all to the Dem Party .

    • Aaron

      The only problem you have Ron is that Earl Ray is in truth a Republican.

    • Low Rider are showing your bias. The development of this project has nothing to do with who is in office (dems or republicans), but where the shale gas is. If the marcellus and utica shale deposits were in Indiana, that is where the ethane cracker would be built.

      As to your other comments, West Virginia is still a "judicial hellhole" as evaluated by a non-partisan group. Your democratic friends in Charleston have yet to fix that.

      • ron "from morgantown"

        Wow , I can see the REP are very nervous about ASCENT. Do you realize the Judicial Hell Hole argument is anything but non partisan since its funded by the Chamber of Commerce ? Its nothing more than a scam similar to the campaign "For the sake of the children " that was nothing more than a Don Blankenship production as he tried to buy the WV Supreme Court . The Blankenship example is the perfect judicial hell hole example , thank goodness it didn't work .

    • Larry

      Ron, I hope you are being very sarcastic, I hate to say it, but WV never has, nor ever will be the "envy" of any state in our region.

    • The bookman


      I think you may be advancing your agenda a bit here don't you think? In business, the three most important things that determine success, in order of importance, are location, location, and finally location. Kudos to the Governor and Burdette for getting the process moving, but I would suggest that there isn't a right to work state on our border participating in this gas play, so I don't see it as a decisive issue. And attempting to inject partisan politics into such an incredible opportunity for our state speaks volumes about you and your fear of losing additional power in state government in the coming election cycle and further down the road.

      Keep up the good work Governor. The heavy lifting has yet to commence, but we are in the game due to your efforts and that of your administration. With everyone working together toward this common goal, all of WV wins!

      • ron "from morgantown"

        Actually its the REP party in WV who tries to advance their agenda with meritless claims that the state can't compete regionally and nationally because our taxes are too high and our courts are plaintiff friendly . What will the REP say now that we landed such a "game changing " development ? If the above two claims were true , the cracker could have easily located across the rive in Ohio ( keeping your theme about location , location , location ) .

        • The bookman

          You would also be hard pressed to find a more Republican represented county than Wood in the State of West Virginia. I don't think you have heard anyone touting that as the reason Odebrecht has chosen to invest here, as that would be absurd. No more absurd as your statement that they selected WV in spite of our status as a non right to work state when none of the states competing for the project are right to work states either.

          You inject partisan politics into this discussion where Democrats and Republicans are coming together and working toward a common goal. As these government leaders at the local and state level illustrate what can be achieved, you illustrate why our system remains largely broken as you campaign for a political advantage!

        • The bookman

          Ohio is not a right to work state.

          • The bookman


            As Ron has left the building! I've known Ron for over 20 years, personally. Probably sleeping as sometimes he works nights. Still awaiting a response from Ron and you as well, though. When have I ever backed away from a discussion?

          • Hop'sHip

            ron: Beware the bookman who is known for, when he is starting to lose, taking his ball and going home. Maybe Huggins should try that?

          • The bookman

            The judicial hell hole designation is earned and a result of a non partisan survey of the state's judicial climate. The Republicans think we should work to change that designation, and you obviously are satisfied with our current ranking. As for the high taxes, our last two Governors, both Democrats, have co-opted that issue and are slowly bringing down taxes that impede business relocating or expanding here. So I guess the answer to your question is that I concede nothing to you in this argument, but accept your misstatement on right to work.

          • ron "from morgantown"

            I will concede the right to work argument as it relates to this plant , however don't you think the REP party in WV has overplayed the judicial hell hole argument and the high tax issue ?