Last week, the PA Chamber joined leaders from state government, business, non-profits, academia, and the local community to celebrate the commencement of operations at the Shell Polymers Monaca facility, known as the “cracker plant” in Beaver County. Located on the site of a converted former zinc smelter, the facility is using locally produced natural gas to make polyethylene pellets, which are used in a variety of consumer goods, automotive, industrial, and utility products.
The event featured remarks by Shell’s CEO Ben van Beurden and Senior Vice President for Shell Polymers Hilary Mercer, and a fireside chat with Shell’s North America President Gretchen Watkins. Gov. Tom Wolf and former Gov. Tom Corbett spoke the project’s progression over the past decade. Also in attendance were many leaders from across the state who helped support the project’s development and its operations, including Penn State President Neeli Benapudi; Carnegie Mellon University President Farnam Jahanian; Duquesne Light CEO Kevin Walker; Beaver County Chamber of Commerce President Donna Lee Siple; Huntingdon Bank Regional President Shirley Baker Shipley; state Sens. Elder Vogel (R-Beaver) and Camera Bartolotta (R-Washington); and state Reps. Josh Kail (R-Beaver), Jim Marshall (R-Beaver), Rob Matzie (D-Beaver), and Valerie Gaydos (R-Allegheny). The PA Chamber’s Bill Miller was also on the ground at the Shell site earlier in the day for a ribbon cutting, a tour of the complex’s innovation center, and a celebration of the workers who built and operate the site.
The company has invested more than $6 billion into the facility and at the peak of its construction employed more than 6,500 construction workers. Plant operations will require 600 full-time jobs, support more than 11,000 statewide jobs, and increase economic activity 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 whose passage was supported by the PA Chamber. TeamPA, in conjunction with Shell, Equinor and U.S. 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, supporting efforts to advance carbon capture and hydrogen production in Pennsylvania. Our team is working to advocate for this project, along with leveraging Pennsylvania’s energy and manufacturing resources for further economic growth and environmental progress.