West Virginia sets up task force to develop Marcellus natural gas

28 February 2011 22:41  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS)--The West Virginia governor’s office is working to set up the first meeting of a task force to explore the development of crackers using feedstock from the Marcellus Shale, the office said on Monday.

The 12-member Marcellus to Manufacturing Task Force includes Greg Babe, chief executive of Bayer Corp and Bayer MaterialScience, among others. Bayer said in December it was exploring the idea of potential investors using one of its sites in West Virginia for a cracker using feedstock derived from the Marcellus Shale. 

West Virginia Governor Earl Ray Tomblin announced the task force on 15 February, saying the extraction of natural gas from the Marcellus Shale would bring “countless jobs" to the state.

“In addition, if we can feasibly develop thermal or steam crackers to make use of the ethane and ethylene associated with gas, we will have a great opportunity to reinvigorate our manufacturing sector,” Tomblin said.

The task force would research and analyse the feasibility of converting ethane to ethylene using thermal or steam cracking; identify potential private sector companies that specialise in constructing and operating thermal or steam crackers and develop strategies on how to attract such companies; and locate existing infrastructure in the state, including pipelines and storage facilities, which may be upgraded to be used in conjunction with manufacturing processes associated with ethane, ethylene and other natural gas by-products.  

Earlier on Monday, PPG Industries announced plans to lease property at its Natrium chemicals site in West Virginia for the development of Marcellus Shale natural gas.

In January, US pipeline operator Dominion announced it had reached an agreement on an option for land at PPG’s Natrium site for the construction of a natural gas processing and fractionation facility.

For more about ethylene go to ICIS chemical intelligence

By: Brian Ford
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