After nearly a decade of site preparation and construction, Shell announced its ethane cracker in Beaver County has commenced operation. The company has invested more than $6 billion into the facility and at the peak employed more than 6,500 construction workers. The facility will use locally produced natural gas liquids to produce more than 1.6 million tons of polyethylene pellets, which are used in a variety of automotive, industrial, utility, and consumer goods.
Throughout the permitting process, the PA Chamber supported the applications for a variety of regulatory clearances to rehabilitate the brownfields, construct necessary pipelines, and build the facility. The site, nearly 400 acres, is adjacent to the Ohio River and has existing rail access that supported the site’s prior use, a zinc smelter.
In a statement, Hilary Mercer, senior vice president for Shell Polymers, said, “Commissioning this world-class facility is a special and once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and we couldn’t have done it without a truly collaborative approach between teams around the globe and the support of the community. I’d like to thank our staff, contracts, the building trades, our Beaver County neighbors, as well as state and local officials.”
Beyond supporting 600 direct jobs at the facility, operations will support more than 11,000 jobs in the state and increase economic activity in the state by nearly $82 billion, according to an analysis conducted by Robert Morris University. The facility has also been identified as an anchor of a proposed hydrogen hub, to be supported by the federal bipartisan infrastructure law, the passage of which was supported by the PA Chamber. TeamPA, in conjunction with Shell, Equinor, and US Steel, recently filed a concept paper with the U.S. Department of Energy – the initial step for securing hub funding. Full applications to DOE are due next April, with funding decisions announced later in 2023.
The PA Chamber is part of the TeamPA Cross-Sector Collaborative partnership supporting efforts to advance carbon capture and hydrogen production in Pennsylvania, and will work to ensure this project, along with leveraging Pennsylvania’s energy and manufacturing resources for further economic growth and environmental progress, is a focal point of the on-going work for the incoming Shapiro administration and General Assembly.