Pennsylvania Gets the Cracker

Shell Oil Co. chooses Pennsylvania as home for its new natural gas processing facility.

According to the Pennsylvania Petroleum Marketers & Convenience Store Association, Shell Oil Co. announced today that it will build its $3.2 billion dollar Ethane cracker plant in Beaver County, Pennsylvania resulting in excess of ten thousand jobs while providing a convenient location to convert Pennsylvania Marcellus Shale Gas into ethylene.  Ethylene is used to make the raw material for the production of plastic products.  The Marcellus Shale Gas contains higher quantities of ethane and other thicker liquid gases that can be more valuable than regular methane because of their use in the production of plastics.

The Corbett Administration won the much coveted cracker facility over the strong sales pitches of the Ohio and West Virginia Governors.  Last month’s passage of Act 13 was one of Pennsylvania’s selling points, giving up to five percent of natural gas impact fees to “infrastructure projects related to the natural gas industry.”  Adding to Act 13’s allure was the Keystone Opportunity Zone, which offers tax breaks of up to fifteen years for those companies investing at least $1 billion in new Pennsylvania projects.

In light of the recent refinery closings by Sunoco at Marcus Hook and ConocoPhillips in Trainer, as well as the soon to be closed Sunoco Philadelphia refinery, Pennsylvania could use the Shell Oil cracker facility to replace some of the lost jobs.

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