Update: Shale Expert Believes Cracker Will Happen

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Updated: 6/3/2015 6:15 P.M.

Another insight on the future of the proposed Wood County cracker project.

Developers of the ethane cracker said early this year they are re-assessing the project, because of a drop in energy prices.

But Dr. Iryna Lendel, Assistant Director for the Center for Economic Development at Cleveland State University, told local business leaders Wednesday, considering the commitment Odebrecht has already made, it's unlikely the project would be scrapped altogether.

"I believe if the company already has 50% (of materials) under contract, they're pretty serious about this project," Dr. Lendel told the seminar by the Mid-Ohio Valley Workforce Investment Board. "So I believe that, so far, the project is alive. Until it's dead, I wouldn't believe it's dead."

Dr. Lendel says other countries, including Saudi Arabia, have or are developing petrochemical projects.

She spoke about things being done to train the local workforce for future jobs, and growing area small business.

Updated: 5/13/2015 7:30 P.M.

There are a little more than a hundred people working at the Sabic Innovative Products plant, which began in the 1950's as Borg-Warner Chemicals, and became GE Plastics in the '80's-before Sabic took over in 2007.

After this week-the last week it's in operation-a few employees will remain to help in dismantling the site.

"This week, we are having different agencies coming in, such as Workforce West Virginia and the department of labor, to explain outplacement benefits," says company spokeswoman Sheila Naab. "Those include career skills, resume writing and training. Sabic also invited those agencies to return immediately after the plant closes, so that employees can register for unemployment benefits, and they will disperse additional information."

The Sabic facility is on the site which is expected to be the location of the proposed ethane cracker.

And if you look beyond the Sabic plant, you'll see signs saying "no trespassing, by order of Ascent", referring to the cracker's developers-an indication the developers still plan to build at this location.

While Odebrecht still plans to build that facility, it has not yet announced a date when construction will begin.

Sabic says its layoffs are to take effect at the end of this week.

Naab says roughly 60% of the plant's workforce is eligible for retirement benefits. Some employees have or will take jobs with Sabic's other operations nationwide.


The land for the cracker plant project hasn't been bought yet, only optioned.

That land is where Sabic Innovative Products is along Washington Bottom in Wood County.

On Thursday, Sabic announced the closing of its Washington, West Virginia plant, bringing an end to an era.

The 109 workers who were laid off will receive severance packages. Sixty percent of those employees are or will be retirement eligible.

For 37 years, Sabic was known here at home as a world leader in engineering thermoplastics.

In a statement from plant manager Scott Dansey, he says it's a difficult decision but the closing is an effort to increase their competitive position in the global market.

Some production will be transferred to Sabic's Ottawa, Illinois and Bay St. Louis, Mississippi facilities during the second quarter of 2015.

Sabic employees will continue to work at the site over the next 18 months to assist with the transition.

Employees were also told the company signed a purchase agreement for the potential sale of the Washington property to a third-party entity.

They'll consider hiring qualified, local workers if it builds its operations in Washington.

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