Bayer Explores Ethylene Possibilities in Shale Gas Field

Company may seek investors for ethylene production site in W. Va.

German pharmaceutical and chemicals giant Bayer AG is exploring the possibility of leasing or selling land adjacent to existing Bayer sites in West Virginia for the development of an ethylene production facility, spokesman Bryan Iams said Dec. 21.

The company said three existing Bayer sites in the Marcellus shale-gas development could be ideal for a thermal cracker.

Bayer utilizes natural gas as both a raw material and a fuel source.

"In addition, the company is investigating the role it could play at various points of the operation, such as processing, shipping and sustainable water treatment," Iams said.

Bayer's Institute and New Martinsville, W.Va., industrial parks could be suitable locations for a thermal cracker to convert the excess ethane found in the gas liquids from the shale, Iams said.

"The valuable chemical feedstocks from such a cracking facility could be used to spur investment by current tenants and by other chemical producers located in the region," he said.

There are three existing Bayer chemical sites within the Marcellus field. Each is located in West Virginia and includes New Martinsville, with about 1,000 acres; Institute, with about 460 acres; and South Charleston, with about 20 acres.

The sites are strategically located in the center of the field and are within reach of about 70% of the U.S. population, Iams said.

The New Martinsville and Institute sites have direct access to major waterways, railways and highways.

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