PARKERSBURG, W.Va. — Developers of the Appalachian Shale Cracker Enterprise project are moving ahead rapidly with plans for a new ethane cracker facility for Wood County.
Although the company announced the purchase of land, it’s never said for certain this facility will become a reality. However, in recent days more and more actions reveal they are closing in on a positive decision.
“Systematically they are checking off the boxes,” said state Commerce Secretary Keith Burdette. “In fact, they are a little bit ahead of schedule and that’s very encouraging.”
Developers with Ascent recently sought environmental permits for the site. They are simultaneously working on an archeological survey of the land. Burdette said it’s too early to say for sure, but he’s optimistic this will become a reality.
“I’m incredibly optimistic about how all this works out,” he said. “I think Odebrecht will build this plant, I think it’s just a matter of working through the natural steps.”
The environmental permit is the the most difficult and time consuming to achieve. Burdette said from the start the company has guarded against delivering false expectations and that makes him even more confident it’s going to be built. Burdette said all of the Odebrecht moves have been transparent, unlike the Shell facility which West Virginia lost to western Pennsylvania.
“You’re not hearing much out of the Shell project,” he said. “I know they’ve been doing to some site work up there, but the steps that Odebrecht is now taking are becoming very public.”
Burdette said the fact those steps are being revealed is a boost to his confidence.