Antero Resources to become major ethane supplier for Ascent - Clarksburg, Morgantown: News, Sports, Weather

Antero Resources announces it will become major ethane supplier for Ascent

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Antero Resources CEO Paul Rady Antero Resources CEO Paul Rady
David Peebles, VP Business Development, Odebrecht Braskem David Peebles, VP Business Development, Odebrecht Braskem

Antero Resources announced March 26 it has signed an agreement to become the anchor ethane supplier for the proposed Ascent petrochemical complex in Wood County.

Under the agreement, Antero intends to provide 30,000 barrels per day of ethane to Ascent, almost half of the volume required to operate the cracker near Parkersburg.

The agreement is contingent on Ascent reaching a final investment decision once a multi-year feasibility analysis is complete and a construction decision is made.

The ethane supplied by Ascent would be used to manufacture polyethylene, a key resin used in the production of plastic products.

"The announcement highlights one of the important benefits of shale gas production and demonstrates Antero's commitment  to the growth of downstream manufacturing in the Appalachian region," said Antero CEO Paul Rady in a press release. "We are excited to work with our partners at Odebrecht and Braskem to help position Ascent as a catalyst for regional economic development."

"While we recognize that there is still work ahead to bring Project ASCENT to fruition, this announcement is a major step forward," Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin said in a news release from Antero. "We can revitalize our manufacturing industry for decades to come – bringing thousands of new jobs  and billions of dollars in investments (to West Virginia)."

Rady expressed Antero's pleasure with the project.

"West Virginia is a great place to do business," Rady said. "We appreciate our partnership with Odebrecht.

"We want growth, jobs and prosperity for this region. We also want the revitalization of the chemical and plastics industries, to take advantage of the abundant resources in the Marcelleus and Utica shales. We believe that Ascent will be the catalyst for the development of this industry.

"We believe in this Ascent project and have made it a priority." 

David C. Peebles, vice president of business development of Odebrecht Braskem, explained the significance of the partnership with Antero Resources.

"Our group is in need of the ethane so we can operate a cracker," Peebles said. "Antero will be a major supplier for us.

"It's a first step, a big step," he added. "We need a pool of suppliers, so that we can have security supply. This is one of the very fundamental steps for us to evaluate the feasibility of the project. 

"Without this, you can't go forward. There are other elements to look at, such as cost to build, the market that we're going to build for, but this is a big step. We need other suppliers to do the same as Antero." 

In order for the cracker to begin operating, more infrastructure is needed.

"The big needs for us are what we call the off ramps and the pipelines," Peebles said. "We need to get the ethane to our site in Parkersburg. There are two areas – one is Seneca and one is Sherwood. We need a pipeline from these areas to our site. We have the supply, now we need the pipeline in terms of infrastructure.

"If you talk about the downstream petrochemical business, and the potential for manufacturing, you have to have a cracker. It's a key, critical element for manufacturing. Otherwise, you're not going to have the polyethylene that manufacturers need to build."