"We decided this makes sense for our company," Peebles said. "We are going to double check."
Peebles added that the company is spending a fair amount of money so far on engineering and legal expenditures. Their next steps will include the permitting process and the purchase of land.
"We have found West Virginia to have a very stable environment," said Odebrecht official Fernando Reis.
The construction of the complex would provide thousands of jobs.
Steve White, director of the Affiliated Construction Trades Foundation, said that his group has been in discussions with the company and believes the project leaders will eventually commit to hiring local, unionized construction workers to build the plant if plans for it are finalized.
"We've talked to them and we feel very positive about it," White said.
Odebrecht has an option to purchase land in Wood County that officials say they will exercise "soon." The land option is located along the Ohio River, where the company SABIC operates a plastics innovation plant.
Burdette said SABIC officials announced Thursday morning the plant would cease operations in the next 18 months. Burdette added that the plant has roughly 109 production plant employees and more than half of them are eligible for retirement. He hopes those workers can find work with the new company.
"Obviously there are a lot of products you can make with ethylene," Burdette said. "They are going to in effect build three different plants for three different product lines and I don't know what they may be."
Burdette added this is not just about one complex or plant but creating a network to capitalizing on regional natural gas developments. While Shell passed up West Virginia for its cracker plant last year, Burdette hopes the latest project is successful.
"The more that we create, we create an energy, a cluster that makes building the network of support around it so much easier and so much more justifiable," Burdette said.
He is hopeful one day the Marcellus and Utica shale regions will have infrastructure capabilities like the Gulf Coast. Then, Burdette said, we could crack natural gas here, consume it here and manufacture products with it here.
Burdette added that state officials have "never gotten down into the weeds" about any other financial assistance, such as tax incentives to make a project for a company like Odebrecht more enticing. He added, though, that financial assistance would be part of the end game.
An Odebrecht-owned company, Braskem, would be responsible for the complex's operation. Braskem has 36 "industrial units," including 29 in Brazil, five in the United States and two in Germany.
"We feel like we found a great partner," Burdette said. "We feel like we found a company to do this in West Virginia and they are going to do state-of-the-art work in this area."Reach Caitlin Cook at caitlin.c...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5113.