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Wood County officials hear more about proposed cracker plant

By Brett Dunlap

Parkersburg News and Sentinel

PARKERSBURG – Wood County is where the people who are proposing to build an ethane cracker facility want to be, officials said Monday night.

The Area Roundtable held its annual membership meeting at the Blennerhassett Hotel.

West Virginia Commerce Secretary Keith Burdette
West Virginia Commerce Secretary Keith Burdette

West Virginia Commerce Secretary Keith Burdette, the meeting’s keynote speaker, talked about “the project that is on the tip of everyone’s tongue.”

Wood County was chosen as the site for a possible new petrochemical complex – the ethane cracker plant – to be built by the Brazilian-based company Odebrecht on the site of the SABIC plant in Washington, W.Va. The proposed complex is called Ascent, which stands for “Appalachian Shale Cracker Enterprise.”

“This is a big deal for this community,” Burdette said. “It is understandable why people are anxious to hear more, are anxious to see more and are anxious for more things to happen.”

Company officials are keeping some aspects of the proposed project to themselves, but Burdette said a project like this represents billions of dollars. Thousands of workers will be needed to build a facility and hundreds will be needed to operate it once it is completed, he added.

“How much will they invest here? Lots,” Burdette said. “How many jobs will they create? Lots.

“It is a big project. We have always talked about this as an industry, not just a facility…”

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