Aither Chemicals Finds Market for Numerous Products
The State Journal
By Taylor Kuykendall, Reporter
A West Virginia company looking to capitalize on vast resources of
shale gas announced Tuesday there is a market for various chemical
products that can be extracted from Marcellus shale gas.
Aither Chemicals hosted an "open season" to determine market
interest for chemicals and plastics that would be produced using
its proprietary catalytic ethane cracking process. The company
would take materials from "wet gas," natural gas laden with
valuable chemical byproducts that is prominent in the Marcellus
shale, and turn it into chemical feedstocks for the manufacturing
"I am very pleased with the market response, which shows strong
interest in the products that can be made using Aither's catalytic
ethane cracking technology," said Aither CEO Leonard Dolhert.
"Aither has the ideal process to build an ethane cracker in the
Kanawha Valley and elsewhere in the world where ethane is
The company is now developing plans for product production volumes
for ethylene oxide, ethylene glycol, polyethylene, acetic acid and
ethylene. According to a news release from Aither, the company has
"received a positive response from potential purchasers of Aither
products, technology licensors, engineering procurement &
construction companies (EPCs), potential licensees who wish to
operate outside the United States, and companies considering
relocation to the Kanawha Valley so their commercial plants could
use Aither products."
"I am especially pleased with the response from multinationals
headquartered outside the U.S. interested in licensing the
technology for use in their markets," said Steven Cohen, Aither
The chemicals produced by the process have been increasingly eyed
as low gas prices are pushing drillers to "wetter" gas regions.
While more expensive to process than dry gas, the price of the
chemicals have made wet gas more attractive to drillers.
The proposed Aither plant would be smaller than some of the
multi-billion dollar plants being considered. Shell is currently
examining the option of placing one of these large sites in
Pennsylvania after failed attempts to attract the region's first
large ethane cracker.
The Aither plant boasts a lower capital cost, lower
operating cost, lower energy input and lower carbon dioxide
emissions over traditional ethane cracker plants. According to a
previous release from Aither, the project is seeking to raise more
than $750 in capital and create more than 2,000 construction jobs
and 200 permanent direct production jobs.
Bayer MaterialScience LLC is assisting in evaluating market
interest for Aither products.