Company considering ‘cracker’ plant in W.Va. seeks permits

By Staff, wire reports

PARKERSBURG, W.Va. A company studying the feasibility of building an ethane cracker plant in Wood County has applied for two state permits.

The permit application, filed with the state Department of Environmental Protection, lists potential annual emissions of nearly 700 tons of nitrogen oxides, more than 500 tons of volatile organic compounds, and more than 2.3 million tons of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide.

“Emissions from the proposed project are not predicted to cause any significant adverse impacts to air quality,” the permit application states.

The Appalachian Shale Cracker Enterprise LLC is seeking an air quality permit and a permit to evaluate the site of the proposed plant under the state’s Voluntary Remediation Program.

Company spokeswoman Denise Cruz tells The Parkersburg News & Sentinel that permitting is another administrative step in an ongoing feasibility study of the proposal.

Fred Durham, acting director of the DEP Division of Air Quality, said that the company paid a permit fee and is entitled to have its application reviewed, whether it’s part of a “feasibility study” or not.

The company’s parent, Odebrecht, announced plans last fall to develop a cracker facility, three polyethylene plants and associated infrastructure for water treatment and energy co-generation in Wood County.

Cracker plants crack or convert ethane into ethylene, a widely used chemical compound. Ethane is a byproduct of natural gas drilling.

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