20 Mar Shell Chooses Beaver County, PA As Site For New Ethane Cracker Plant
Royal Dutch Shell announced that they have signed a land-option agreement in Beaver County, Pennsylvania, in the Monaca region. The agreement is the first step towards Shell’s highly publicized “cracker plant,” which is expected to employ hundreds and provide up to 10,000 construction jobs alone.
The ethane cracker plant converts ethane from the abundant Marcellus shale natural gas liquids into chemicals such as ethylene, which is in turn used to produce products such as plastics, tires and antifreeze. A cracker plant closely resembles a gasoline refinery, with large storage tanks and miles of pipe lines.
The states of Ohio and West Virginia were also in consideration for the plant, and each state scrambled to provide legislation as well as tax incentives to attract the deal. However, since both Ohio and West Virginia’s state borders are in close proximity (15 miles) of the plant and the Pennsylvania border, it is very likely that workers from all three states will benefit.
The plant is by no means under construction, in fact, it will take years to build. Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett states, “It’s the first pitch in a nine-inning game.” Shell plans next to conduct environmental and design studies, followed by more economic analysis.
U.S. Rep. Jason Altmire, D-McCandless Township, praised the decision in a news release. “We always knew that Beaver County presented the best option for Shell to build the plant, and we are pleased that they have made this initial decision,” he said. “If Shell’s final decision is to locate this facility in Beaver County, it would be the largest industrial new start in western Pennsylvania in decades.”