Shell has signed a land option agreement to evaluate a site in Beaver County – which is north of Pittsburgh – for a new petrochemical plant. The plant is expected to generate thousands of permanent jobs and draw from the region’s massive deposits of natural gas.
The area seems perfect as it has water, road, and rail transportation. “This is our preferred site, and we fully expect to proceed with it,” said Dan Carlson, general manager.
The plant is expected to create 10,000 construction jobs and would also create 10,000 permanent jobs in chemical and supplier industries. According to the Bureau of Labor statistics, the current unemployment rate in Beaver County is 6.8%.
Tom Corbett, Pennsylvania’s Governor, is thrilled about the Shell plant coming into the area. The new Shell plant will provide new jobs in engineering, manufacturing, chemistry, and energy for many years. Corbett and his correspondents lobbied Shell officials in person and offered packages of tax breaks. Pennsylvania also recently passed regulations aimed at keeping it competitive on zoning rules and fees for natural gas drilling.
The facility would be the first ethane cracker built in the country since 2000. The ethane cracker would convert the ethane found in natural gas into ethylene – a core component for plastics and fertilizer near the Marcellus Shale formation.
In addition to an ethane cracker, Shell said it is also considering additional glycol units to help meet increasing demand in the North American market.