Marcellus and the Charleston Area Alliance
The Charleston Area Alliance is focused on maximizing job creation, economic diversification, building the tax base, and keeping the value of the Marcellus Shale to benefit West Virginia and her citizens. One of the most interesting parts of the Marcellus discovery is that the deposit is rich (or what some call “wet”) in ethane. The percentage of the whole that ethane represents of the different types of gases extracted in the Marcellus (others being methane, propane etc) can be as high as 15-20%. Ethane can be converted into Ethylene which is a building block of many other products we all use on a daily basis.
You have likely heard about the Charleston Area Alliance efforts to attract an ethane “cracker” to West Virginia and specifically the Kanawha Valley, where ethane would be converted to ethylene. Such a facility would cost upwards of $1-2 billion dollars to build, creating approximately 2000 construction jobs in the process. Once operational, the facility would likely employee approximately 750 full time employees. Additionally, an ethane cracker would create new feedstock for the region which would likely attract more new manufacturing facilities to locate nearby.
In a recent radio interview, Charleston Area Alliance President and CEO Matthew Ballard talks about the Marcellus and the ethane cracker in part one of this radio interview (more to be posted later):