Attempts are underway by Bayer AG to persuade potential investors to build a chemical plant on company sites in West Virginia using ethane from adjacent shale-gas deposits. The company is in talks to lease or sell unused parts of two sites covering 1,460 acres (590 hectares) for construction of a cracker to convert ethane into ethylene. Bayer’s sites in New Martinsville and Institute, West Virginia, have access to rail, water and road transportation. The Bayer sites are located atop the Marcellus Shale formation, which according to Energy Department estimates is the largest known US gas field. New drilling techniques are boosting production from shale formations, keeping US prices of natural-gas low relative to oil.