Governor Tom Corbett today discussed Shell Oil Company's announcement of a land-option agreement with Horsehead Corporation to evaluate the Beaver County site for a potential petrochemical complex, including an ethane cracker facility.
"For several months, I have been actively engaged and working with Shell officials, as have members of my cabinet, to get Pennsylvania to this point in the process," said Corbett. "Shell now knows what we all do; Pennsylvania is ideal for this project. Not only do we sit atop the richest known reserves of natural gas in the world, but we have a world class workforce, an expansive transportation network including rail, roads and air, excellent education institutions and a thriving quality of life here in Pittsburgh.
"We are still early in the process, but my administration is determined to see this project through to completion. The benefits to the state's southwest and to all of Pennsylvania are immense," said Corbett. "The Shell plant would, if constructed, have the potential to be the single largest industrial investment in the region in at least a generation."
A study by the American Chemistry Council estimated that more than 10,000 new permanent jobs would be created in chemical and supplier industries as a result of a cracker facility locating in the region. Additionally, Shell expects 10,000 construction jobs will result from site development.
The land agreement announced today is an important first step in establishing this facility in Pennsylvania. Next steps for Shell include additional environmental analysis of the preferred site, further engineering design studies, assessment of the local ethane supply and continued evaluation of the project's economic viability. "Projects of this scale are important as Pennsylvania seeks to develop a market for its natural gas supply and to create new jobs and the prosperity that comes with them," said Corbett.
The potential complex includes an ethane cracker which would process ethane from Marcellus natural gas to produce ethylene, one of the primary building blocks for petrochemicals. Ethylene is then used for a number of chemical derivatives that are used in the production of various products, including food packaging, bottles, house siding, pipes, carpets, tires, footwear, detergent and adhesives.
Gov. Corbett also thanked members of the General Assembly for their support in pursuing this project. He especially thanked the Beaver County delegation, Senator Vogel and Representatives Christiana and Marshall; and Representative Hess from Bedford County and Senator Earll of Erie County for their partnership in this endeavor.