Governor Tom Corbett spoke during a press conference Wednesday about the potential to create 20,000 jobs with the development of a petrochemical complex in Beaver County. The proposed facility would create 10,000 construction jobs and more than 10,000 positions in other industries. Job impacts would be felt across Pennsylvania.
“We have a once-in-a-lifetime chance to bring a project to Pennsylvania that will be the single-largest industrial investment in the state in more than a generation,” said Corbett. “We are investing in a new industrial revolution and we are investing in the opportunity for thousands of Pennsylvanians to have a good job.”
Estimates from the American Chemical Council have projected that more than 17,000 jobs would be created in the chemical industry, through the plant and spinoff businesses along the supply chain.
The Department of Labor and Industry has been working on its own analysis of workforce needs related to the potential new plant, but final numbers are not yet available.
The petrochemical facility will process natural gasA naturally occurring mixture of hydrocarbon and non-hydrocarbon gases beneath the earth’s surface – often in association with petroleum. liquids—commonly found in the shaleA fine grained sedimentary rock composed mostly of consolidated clay or mud. Shale is the most frequently occurring sedimentary rock. gasNatural gas trapped in a shaleA fine grained sedimentary rock composed mostly of consolidated clay or mud. Shale is the most frequently occurring sedimentary rock. formationA body of earth material with distinctive and characteristic properties..—and transform them into plastics and other materials.
Pennsylvania faced tough competition from surrounding states to become the primary choice location for this project. This plant will be the first in the northeastern U.S. and will require substantial additional investments from dozens of new manufacturers.
The facility has been a hot topic recently among businesses, community members, and the government because of tax-related issues surrounding the development. Two Beaver County lawmakers have released similar versions of a proposed ethane tax credit for Shell Oil Co., which the governor supports for inclusion in the pending state budget package.
One version would offer $1.65 billion over the next 25 years to Shell and other companies that locate ethane-processing facilities in Pennsylvania and buy ethane from local natural gasA naturally occurring mixture of hydrocarbon and non-hydrocarbon gases beneath the earth’s surface – often in association with petroleum. wells. The other version proposes a nearly identical tax credit based on the amount of ethane purchased by Pennsylvania-based processing facilities, but removes the cap on the value of credits being offered and the 25-year time period allotted by the Corbett administration.
“If we stand by and do nothing we will not only lose the Shell project, but we will also lose our ability to grow this industry in Pennsylvania,’’ said Corbett. “Instead, we will see this chance to revive manufacturing being exploited in places like Ohio and West Virginia.”
The governor was joined by many supporters of the project, including state elected Officials, the Allegheny County Executive, and leaders of trade unions, business groups, and industry associations.