Forum Held to Show Potential Regional Impact of Shell Cracker Plant

ShellPetroChemPennTITUSVILLE, Pa. (EYT) – Pennsylvania hasn’t had much to get excited about in years when it comes to large economic development, but some in the northwest part of the state hope that may be changing.

Hundreds gathered at the Cross Creek Resort near Titusville on Wednesday for a forum on how Pennsylvanians from the region may benefit from the Shell Cracker Plant that will be built near Monaca, in Beaver County.

Construction on the plant is set to begin in about a year with the hope that it will operational by early in the next decade.

Nearly 600 workers have already been busy with preparing the site. It was formerly home to a zinc smelting plant, and it is expected to employ 6,000 workers to build the plant and other buildings for research and administration, a warehouse, and new rail yard.

Once the plant is completed, there are expected to be about 600 full-time jobs for workers at the plant.

Lance Hummer, of the Northwest PA Oil and Gas HUB Taskforce and Executive Director of the Keystone Community Education Council, organized the forum.

Officials from Louisiana with decades of experience in the gas industry spoke, as well as Pennsylvanians with similar experience in the natural gas field.

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Dan Weaver, the president of the Pa. Independent Oil and Gas Association, spoke about the promise that the plant offers to the region.

“We need to work together,” Weaver said. “We saw the opportunity coming, and we are finding ways to work together.”

Dan Borne, a retired President of the Louisiana Chemical Association, explained what Pennsylvania has that is so valuable.

“You are sitting on a dome of economic development,” Borne said. “You have the shale gas deposits that is used for heating your homes and businesses, the gas that generates electricity, the feedstock for the cracker plants that eventually becomes trash bags, insulation, latex pain, apparel, electronics, just to name a few.”

Borne also shared some stats indicating that every job at a cracker plant results in 9.3 more jobs in business that serve the plant and its workers.

He also said that average salary in the chemical industry is $1,825.00 a week.

Denise Brinley, the special assistant to the Secretary – Strategic Industry Initiatives – State Department of Community and Economic Development, spoke to the group of the possibility of growth for cracker plants in Pennsylvania.

“We have a $12 billion pipeline buildout in Pennsylvania, and the gas is all headed to East Coast markets, New England, Delaware,” Brinley said. “But, what we are competing for we may be able to change the direction of the economic effects in this region.”

“There is the possibility of four more ethane cracker plants. There are infrastructure projects that need to be done for us to take advantage of this. Pennsylvania has the potential to outcompete the rest of the world in this area,” Brinley said.

R.B. Smith, the vice president of Business and Workforce Development for the Southwest Louisiana Economic Development Alliance, spoke about the chances for regional business growth.

Bechtel Corporation, which is building the Shell plant, is the largest construction and civil engineering company in the United States, and the ninth-largest privately owned American company in 2016.

“They are looking for bigger contractors with an impeccable safety record. If you think you want to work with them, go to their website and find what they are looking for, what they require, and then start building those relationships,” Smith said.

Smith also talked about the potential for services to be provided, such as safety, janitorial, transportation, the need for better internet access, and the need for food vendors.

“6,000 workers are going to eat a lot of food,” Smith said.

Sam Moore, who is with Bradford-based Servco Services, Inc., and also has a DuBois office, talked about he was at Wednesday’s forum for his company, which is primarily a janitorial services firm working with clients industrial, commercial, educational, and healthcare markets,

“I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t think there was the potential to do business with Shell. We already do business outside Pennsylvania, so why not with a company in Beaver County.”


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