ASCENT submits two permits

CHARLESTON – The company working on plans to possibly build an ethane cracker facility in Wood County is applying to the state for environmental permits to move forward in the planning process.

The Appalachian Shale Cracker Enterprise LLC (ASCENT), a subsidiary of Odebrecht, has submitted two environmental permitting documents to the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection, said Denise Cruz, company spokeswoman.

These are an air quality permit and an application to evaluate the 363-acre property in Wood County under the state’s Voluntary Remediation Program.

”Permitting is just another administrative step in the continuing feasibility study considering the construction of a petrochemical manufacturing facility in Wood County, W.Va.,” Cruz said. ”It is one step in a long process. We are continuing to move forward.”

Last fall, the Brazilian-based Odebrecht announced plans for the development in Wood County of an ethane cracker, three polyethylene plants and associated infrastructure for water treatment and energy co-generation.

A cracker plant converts ethane, a byproduct from Marcellus Shale and Utica Shale natural gas, into the widely used ethylene, a key component for the plastics industry.

If the plant is built, it would be operated by Braskem America.

Appalachian Shale Cracker Enterprise LLC purchased the SABIC Innovative Plastics plant property at 9226 DuPont Road, Washington, W.Va., for $10,910,890. SABIC is expected to close in 2015.

The state’s evaluation of the air quality permit will include a determination for ASCENT’s use of “Best Available Control Technology” to achieve the greatest reduction in air emissions from all sources, Cruz said.

”Emissions from this facility, if constructed, will not impact the attainment status for the Parkersburg area for these monitored constituents, as determined by EPA,” she said. ”It is important to note that thousands of sources contribute to West Virginia’s air emissions. Emissions from cars, trucks and other ‘mobile’ sources, for example, account for more than half of the carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide levels measured both in West Virginia and around the country.

”Fires and dust, meanwhile, are large contributors to particulate matter, which are microscopic particles carried in the air,” Cruz said.

West Virginia’s Voluntary Remediation Program involves a review of pre-existing conditions on the property ASCENT recently acquired to confirm it meets state cleanup standards for industrial use. It has already met federal standards.

”Odebrecht is committed to reducing carbon emissions from all of its operations to the greatest extent possible,” Cruz said. ”The company achieved a 12.5 percent reduction globally in the five years since establishing a baseline year of 2008, and efforts are continuing to improve upon that trend.”