West Virginia Governor Earl Ray Tomblin and officials from
an energy consortium held a press conference at WVU-Parkersburg today to announce a
land deal with the potential to create a massive industrial complex.
The proposed site is the Sabic property (formerly GE Plastics
and Borg-Warner) in Washington Bottom, across the Ohio River from Little Hocking and adjacent to the region’s largest existing industrial facility, DuPont’s
The prime investor is the Brazilian energy and construction conglomerate Odebrecht.
In addition to an ethane cracker facility, three associated manufacturing plants would be built at the site.
David Peoples is one of the principals in ASCENT, which in
this case stands for Appalachian Shale Cracker Enterprise. He told the WVU-P
audience that the development is a work in progress…
“We’re going to go through a very deliberative process…it’s
like a diagnostic, like an annual checkup. That’s what we’re going through. It
requires expenditures on engineering, it requires expenditures on lawyers,
“Assuming we go forward, there will be many jobs available.
I don’t want to get into the numbers. We want to manage expectations. But we
will be spending a large amount of money.”
Reporters noted that the word “potential” was uttered often at today’s press
You may recall the excitement over Shell Chemical’s decision to build an ethane cracker at Monaca, Pennsylvania, near the Ohio-West
Virginia border. Many people in the region interpreted the Shell announcement
as an instant job and prosperity creator, but it turned out that actual
construction and operation of that facility is years away.
Governor Tomblin and ASCENT officials clearly had the Monaca
experience in mind today as they sought to caution the community that this is a
large step toward an economic development of historic proportions - but there
is still a lot of work to be done before construction can begin.