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Planned Wood County cracker plant site purchased

$11 million deal a positive sign, officials say

By Evan Bevins

Parkersburg News and Sentinel

WASHINGTON, W.Va. – A project to build a massive petrochemical complex centered around an ethane cracker plant in Wood County took another step forward with the purchase of the land where it is to be built for nearly $11 million.

Appalachian Shale Cracker Enterprise LLC purchased the SABIC Innovative Plastics plant property at 9226 DuPont Road, Washington, W.Va., for $10,910,890.

In November, Brazil-based Odebrecht announced with state officials including Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin that it planned to develop a cracker plant on the site, expected to create thousands of construction jobs and hundreds of jobs at the facilities. The complex, which will also include three polyethylene plants and associated infrastructure for water treatment and energy co-generation, is to be called the Appalachian Shale Cracker Enterprise, or Ascent.

That same day, it was announced the SABIC plant, which employs about 130 people, would close in 2015.

Despite great optimism accompanying the announcement, the project has not been finalized. Local officials on Tuesday said the purchase, which closed Dec. 31 and was recently filed with the Wood County Clerk’s office, is a positive sign.

“We are that much closer to the goal line,” said Cam Huffman, president and CEO of the Area Roundtable, which includes the Wood County Development Authority and the Parkersburg-Wood County Development Corporation.

“To have that type of investment from the company and that type of commitment to do that, it’s very encouraging,” he said. “Any time a company is spending money on a project, it’s a positive thing…”

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