CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The group aiming to develop a natural gas storage hub in the region has taken another step forward.
Appalachia Development Group, LLC, has announced the selection of Parsons Corporation as its engineering, procurement and construction partner for the storage hub.
Parsons is an engineering, construction, and management support company headquartered in Pasadena, Calif.
Parsons would initially focus on aspects of front-end engineering and design, including project management and execution planning.
Subsequent phases include the construction of the $3.4 billion project and its long-term operation.
The Appalachia Storage & Trading Hub is a proposed underground storage facility for natural gas liquids and intermediates. Supporters tout its potential for secondary products from natural gas.
The American Chemistry Council has estimated that development of the storage hub would stimulate an estimated $36 billion in follow-on petrochemical investments and more than 100,000 new long-term jobs.
The project is meant to take advantage of the potential of the Marcellus, Utica and Rogersville Shale methane deposits for domestic and international markets.
Opposition has come from the Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition and other environmental groups who agree it would create a major petrochemical region. They contend that would include public health dangers and contribute to global warming.
Early this year, the Appalachian storage hub cleared a significant hurdle for a possible $1.9 billion federal loan guarantee.
Appalachia Development Group said it recognizes that would be the first of several steps to secure a conditional commitment and final loan agreement. The group said it also aims to secure $1.4 billion through other financing.
Steve Hedrick, president and chief executive of Appalachian Development Group, said the selection of Parsons will help move the project forward.
“Parsons has proven and successful experience with complex infrastructure projects. I have confidence in Parsons’s ability to support the development and completion of the Hub safely, effectively and efficiently,” Hedrick stated.
Appalachia Development Group is owned by MATRIC and the West Virginia University Innovation Corporation. Hedrick is also the CEO of MATRIC.
He received criticism from Gov. Jim Justice earlier this year over his involvement with potential natural gas investors from China.
The natural gas storage hub project has received support from West Virginia’s congressional delegation, including senators Joe Manchin and Shelley Moore Capito and Congressman David McKinley.