Anya Litvak Reporter- Pittsburgh Business Times
I never had June as a date, Corbett told the Pittsburgh Business Times on Friday afternoon. I’ve always thought it would be early next year.
The June 30 deadline comes from a six-month extension that Shell negotiated with Horsehead Corp. (Nasdaq: ZINC) which would be selling its land to the energy company if Shell decides the cracker is a go.
There’s been a bit of doubt about the timetable and the project’s viability as more and more crackers are moving forward on the Gulf Coast.
Corbett would have none of it in a meeting at the Pittsburgh Business Times offices on Friday.
Why would Shell buy time, spend money, if they are not looking? Corbett said. In all conversations I’ve had with them, they are still moving forward.
The governor last touched based with the energy and chemical giant before his trade mission to Brazil and Chile. His Department of Community and Economical Development has, a weekly, if not daily conversations with Shell, he said.
In a statement to the Pittsburgh Business Times, a Shell spokeswoman confirmed the June 30 date for the lease expiring with Horsehead, but no specific timing has been given for an announcement.
“The site is still under assessment and there are still several hurdles to cross before we can make a decision,” she said.”
She said the lease timeline “is not the driver as to whether we would make an announcement.”
On his way back from South America, Corbett said he came up with at least two compelling reasons to build a new cracker here rather than in the Gulf Coast.
1. This region has a vast supply of wet natural gas: it more logical to build here closer to the source, he asked.
2. The Gulf Coast has hurricanes and tornadoes. Pennsylvania, generally, does not.
Whatever it is and whenever Shell’s verdict comes, Corbett said he is 100 percent certain that it will be built in Pennsylvania or nowhere in the Northeast. He’s looking at you, Ohio and West Virginia.