Several corporate giants are evaluating locations in Appalachian region to build a world-scale ethylene cracker chemical plant.
In June, Shell Chemical announced plans to construct a plant to process ethane from Marcellus natural gas to produce ethylene. The plans are driven by the vast natural gas reserves discovered in the Marcellus Shale, a deep formation that lies beneath New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia and parts of other states.
Bayer Crop Science is promoting its sites in Kanawha and Wetzel counties as potential locations to companies who are interested in building an ethane cracker. The 1,000 acre New Martinsville site and the 460 acre Institute site meet the river and rail requirements.
The Jackson County Development Authority is making a pitch for property along the Ohio River. Like the Bayer sites, the Jackson County location offers river and rail access, and is situated in the state's Polymer Alliance Zone.
Currently, most crackers in USA are located in Texas and Louisiana. Petrochem majors are definitely looking at building new plants, instead of just expanding existing ones in USA. Though a debate rages over the gas in the Marcellus region, the U.S. Geological Survey recently dramatically increased its estimate of reserves, from 2 trillion cubic feet to 84 trillion.