Drilling Down

Appalachian Resins CEO Says Small Cracker Moving Forward

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – The CEO of Appalachian Resins Inc. says his company’s proposed ethylene/polyethylene project slated for Monroe County “is not stalled.”

James S. Cutler emailed The Business Journal to correct an article published on April 24 citing press reports that the project was on hold.

“At this time, Appalachian Resins plans to move forward as soon as it’s proposed site gets a clean bill of health,” the CEO said.

The project is a best described as a small cracker plant. It would produce 508 million pounds per year of ethylene and 500 million pouinds per year of polyethylene.

“Appalachian Resins is not ‘world scale,’ but configured to fit into the existing Marcellus-Utica infrastructure,” Cutler wrote in his email. “Appalachian Resins does not view itself to be an ethylene producer. Rather, it will be a polyethyleme producer with an upstream source of dedicated ethylene.”

The company agreed in August to lease a site along the Ohio River in Salem Township from the Monroe County Port Authority.

Cutler referred The Business Journal to a report April 13 in Downstream Today, which reported the company’s development team met in Houston April 10 “to review updated project economics and financing needs.

The trade journal correctly quoted Cutler, he related, as stating a Phase I property assessment is complete and a Phase II survey is underway. Engineering and air quality reviews will follow.

Cutler said project costs are now estimated at $1.3 billion. “Even with changing conditions, Appalachian Resins still appears to be a viable project,” he told Downstream Today.

In his email to The Business Journal, Cutler said the project could employ as many as 1,800 construction workers and “a maximum of 300 employees” when the plant goes into operation sometime in 2018.

Cutler is one of four key executives identified by Appalachian Resins on its website.

According to the site, Cutler “has more than 40 years experience in the energy and petrochemical industry. Until recently, he was executive vice president of Petral Worldwide (PWI), a Houston based consultancy. At PWI, Cutler specialized in midstream operations, natural gas monetization, alternative energy project evaluation and commodity petrochemical business development.”

The Business Journal reported April 24 that the two Brazilian companies that considered building a cracker plant near Parkersburg, W. Va., are reevaluating whether they will make the billion-dollar investment in light of the current oil and gas market (READ STORY).

The companies, Braskem and Odebrecht, announced the potential $3.8 billion project, the Appalachian Shale Cracker Enterprise, known as Project Ascent, in November 2013 (READ STORY).

In a joint statement issued Thursday, Brasken and Odebrecht said a “reanalysis” of the project has begun. The statement came in response to press inquiries that followed Wednesday’s announcement that two Asian companies have selected a site in Belmont County for the potential construction of a cracker plant.

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.