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Burdette optimistic about cracker plant

Jun. 11, 2013 @ 11:00 PM

PARKERSBURG -- Wood County remains in the running for a proposed ethane cracker plant; it is just going to take time for the various pieces to fall into place before any decision is made, the secretary for the West Virginia Department of Commerce said Monday.

Secretary Keith Burdette was the keynote speaker at the weekly meeting of the Parkersburg Rotary Club at the Blennerhassett Hotel.

West Virginia, and particularly Wood County, is being considered for a multibillion-dollar ethane cracker plant. A cracker plant converts ethane, a byproduct from Marcellus Shale and Utica Shale natural gas, into the widely used ethylene, a key component for the plastics industry.

Burdette spoke about the huge amount of progress the state has made over the last 20 years that has made West Virginia a much more competitive place to do business by having the state's finances in order compared to other states. The state's budget is balanced and the state is able to pay its bills. The state has some of the best cash reserves in the nation. The state has also been cutting back on certain taxes, like the food tax and the business franchise tax.

''West Virginia is better prepared than most states in the country,'' Burdette said. ''I go across the country every day telling the story. People are listening and we are winning more battles in business recruitments than we are actually losing.''

The cost of doing business in West Virginia is at historic lows compared nationally as the state's bond rating has improved dramatically.

According to a number of analysis, West Virginia has been ranked as one of the best places for oil and gas development in the world. However, drilling and getting the gas out of the ground is not the only focus of the Department of Commerce.

''The focus has been taking the products being extracted from the earth and create some value added opportunities,'' Burdette said of infrastructure development and the potential to attract other businesses where the products of the gas can be processed into usable products.

(u'addcomment', u'nobuy')

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