NATRIUM - Still waiting to process its first barrel of ethane, the under construction $500 million Dominion Resources natural gas facility received its second bomb threat in the last two months Tuesday.
"The people who do these things are domestic terrorists," said Corky Demarco, executive director of the West Virginia Oil and Natural Gas Association.
Marshall County Emergency Management Director Tom Hart said the West Virginia State Police, Marshall County sheriff's deputies, officials with the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources and officials with Dominion explored the construction site Tuesday afternoon. After closing W.Va. 2 between Fish Creek Road and W.Va. 89 for about two hours, officials reopened the road upon determining the threat was not credible.
Photo by Scott McCloskey
Firefighters temporarily close W.Va. 2 south of Moundsville Tuesday during investigation of a bomb threat at the construction site of Dominion Resources’ Natrium plant.
"About 1:30 p.m., a note was found on-site that characterized a bomb threat," said Dominion spokesman Dan Donovan, emphasizing he did not want to reveal the exact language in the note. "We then evacuated about 700 construction workers."
Donovan said most of the construction workers - who are working under the direction of Chicago Bridge & Iron, which Dominion hired to build the plant - should return to the site today.
In February, officials also evacuated workers from the site for a bomb threat that eventually was determined to be a hoax.
"This is not civil disobedience - this is a crime. They need to be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law," said Demarco.
Dominion recently entered into a $1.5 billion processing and transportation venture with Caiman Energy known as Blue Racer Midstream, which includes the Natrium plant. This network features facilities across northern West Virginia and eastern Ohio that will move gas and liquids out of the Marcellus and Utica shale formations.
Blue Racer spokeswoman Casey Nikoloric referred all questions regarding the bomb threats to Donovan. However, she said the Natrium plant should be open by late spring.
Once the wet Marcellus and Utica shale gas travels to the Dominion plant via the company's pipeline network, the ethane, butane, propane and other natural gas liquids will be separated from the "dry" methane gas so that all the products can be individually marketed.
Upon separation from the gas stream, the propane and butane will be kept in tanks on the Dominion site to be marketed. However, this cannot be done with ethane because of the product's volatility, so Dominion is looking to ship the ethane for cracking along the Gulf Coast.
Throughout the plant's construction phase along the Ohio River, members of the Affiliated Construction Trades Foundation have been at odds with Dominion and CB&I for not hiring more local workers to build the facility. Total on-site worker numbers have fluctuated from about 84 to nearly 1,000 over the past year.