Petrochemical Giants Line Up For US Natural Gas

The Marcellus-Utica shale gas boom underway in Western Pennsylvania has created new prospects for downstream petrochemical operations, as various multinational manufacturers assess how to capitalize on the region’s suddenly abundant, inexpensive energy source. Now comes word that two Brazilian energy giants are considering an olefin cracking facility and three polyethylene manufacturing plants in West Virginia that would tap the pipeline networks now beginning to take shape in the region.

Odebrecht, an engineering and construction firm with $41 billion in sales for 2012, recently announced it has a purchase option on an anticipated project site in Parkersburg, W.Va. The plan is for Odebrecht to lead the financing of the project and build the cracker and polyethylene plants for a second Brazilian firm, Braskem SA, the largest producer of polyethylene and other resins in the American hemisphere.