Shell Proposes $7.6 Million Payment Plan to Beaver County

By Adriana Pop, Associate Editor Royal Dutch Shell has proposed a payment plan to Beaver County officials that could bring local entities $7.6 million if the company decides to build a massive ethane cracker facility in the region. According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Shell’s proposed development had threatened to deprive the Potter Township and the [...]

Royal Dutch Shell has proposed a payment plan to Beaver County officials that could bring local entities $7.6 million if the company decides to build a massive ethane cracker facility in the region. According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Shell’s proposed development had threatened to deprive the Potter Township and the Central Valley School District of revenue, since the land housing the facility is exempt from state and local taxes over the course of 22 years.

In March, Shell Chemical LP signed a land option agreement with Horsehead Corporation to evaluate the site in Potter, where it could build the multibillion-dollar ethane cracker plant. The Shell subsidiary chose a 300-acre area near Monaca, in close proximity to the Conway Railyards and approximately 15 miles from the Pittsburgh International Airport.

The company’s decision concluded a tri-state competition for private investment which began on June 6, when Shell Oil announced its plans to establish the ethane-processing plant in Pennsylvania, Ohio or West Virginia. Earlier this year, the tax exemptions the company was offered to choose Pennsylvania over the other regions became part of legislation in Harrisburg. The incentives are expected to bring savings of more than $1 billion.

According to the American Chemistry Council, the potential positive economic impact for the Pittsburgh region implies a $3.2 billion investment that would lead to the creation of more than 10,000 permanent jobs in the chemical and supplier industries. Furthermore, Shell expects 10,000 construction jobs would result from site development.

The proposed petrochemical complex would process locally produced ethane from Marcellus Shale gas production. The plant would chemically “crack” ethane into ethylene, the raw material used to make plastics and other materials and officials believe that the construction of the plant could lead to the establishment of other major plastics manufacturers in the area.

The company could still be years away from making a final decision on whether or not to establish the new plant. Further steps include additional environmental analysis, engineering design studies, assessment of the local ethane supply, as well as continued evaluation of the commercial feasibility of the project.