New study assesses the potential economic impact of the proposed ASCENT petrochemical complex in West Virginia

A new study presented yesterday to the West Virginia House of Delegates' Gas Works W.V. Caucus estimates that the proposed petrochemical complex ASCENT (Appalachian Shale Cracker Enterprise) would have an economic impact of more than $2 billion during the four-year construction process alone, the Parkersburg News and Sentinel reports.  In November, W.V. Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin announced that international petrochemical company Odebrecht plans to build an ethane cracker and three polyethylene plants in Wood County, W.V. (See our Feb 2, 2014, blog post for more information). The study, titled "Building Value from Shale Gas: The Promise of Expanding Petrochemicals in West Virginia," was funded by Brasken America, which is owned by Odebrecht, and was authored by Tom S. Witt, PhD, chief economist for Witt Economics LLC and professor emeritus and former director of West Virginia University's Bureau of Business and Economic Research. The study did not focus on Wood County specifically, but "looked at the construction of a hypothetical $3.98 billion cracker plant and associated polyethylene plants that would use materials generated by the cracker" in West Virginia, the article said. Among the wealth of statistics presented, the study concludes that construction would result in a total of 24,118 direct, indirect and induced jobs for a total employee compensation of $1.116 billion. The total employment for operation of the plant, including direct, indirect and induced jobs, would be 2,088 with a total compensation of $116 million. Total annual output at start-up would be $764 million, with total annual output at full operation reaching $840 million. The cracker and polyethylene plants would employ 325 at full operation.

West Virginia