Aither Chemicals has signed an agreement with Bayer MaterialScience to bring in third party interest for chemicals produced from a potential catalytic ethane cracker in the Kanawha Valley region of West Virginia, US.
The agreement includes a non-binding open season, which will run until 20th July, to determine market interest for chemicals and plastics that would be produced by the proposed cracker.
As part of the agreement, Bayer will assist Aither to evaluate third party interest in ethylene, acetic acid, carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide, for sale at competitive market pricing or use in making downstream derivatives and other products, such as ethylene oxide (EO).
Leonard Dolhert, Aither CEO, said: "The Memorandum of Understanding is a first step towards building a catalytic ethane cracker in the Kanawha Valley region and we are optimistic that the market will respond."
Aither said several suppliers have already shown their interest in supplying ethane to the project.
Based on the final outcome of the open season, Aither Chemicals will evaluate the market's response and decide on a further course of action by 31st August 2012 to build the cracker plant.
Production is expected to begin in early 2015 if Aither decides to proceed with the proposed catalytic ethane cracker production plant.
Aither Chemicals plans to produce 600 million pounds of ethylene, 300 million pounds of acetic acid, 80 million pounds of carbon dioxide and 40 million pounds of carbon monoxide from the plant.
Pittsburgh-based non-profit financial advisory Renewable Manufacturing Gateway will advise Aither on evaluating market response to the open season and financing production at the commercial cracker plant.