Those hoping to lure a $2.5 billion ethane cracker plant to Beaver County got a boost this week when Shell Chemical LP exercised its land-option on an industrial site near Monaca.
The company has been evaluating the land owned by the Horsehead Corporation for more than two years. If built, the company expects to use the facility to process gas pulled from the Marcellus and Utica Shale formations into ethylene. Ethylene is used as a building block for a long list of every-day products including drink bottles, detergents and adhesives.
Horsehead Corp. is in the process of demolishing a zinc smelting plant on the land along the Ohio River. It closed the facility this summer.
By exercising the option Shell is still not committed to building the cracker. Gov. Tom Corbett, whose administration has been working to attract the plant, said, “Today’s announcement is another positive indication for Shell’s proposed petrochemical facility in Beaver County.”
The facility is expected to create 400 permanent jobs.
Pittsburgh Regional Alliance President Dewitt Peart called the announcement “an important step forward in making the proposed facility a reality.”
“We recognize that this land acquisition in Potter Township is yet another significant step in the progress of the project but it doesn’t signal a final investment decision at this time,” Peart said.
The Alliance predicts the facility will create 2000 to 8000 associated jobs in the region with an annual economic output from operations of $4.8 billion.