Rep. Christiana: Shell cracker plant will keep ‘manufacturing resurgence’ in Pa.

Joe Massaro Joe Massaro

Shell Chemical Appalachia’s ethane cracker plant in Beaver County will ensure that a manufacturing resurgence occurs in western Pennsylvania, a state lawmaker told Shale Insight attendees this morning.

Pennsylvania state Rep. Jim Christiana told the crowd in Pittsburgh that the multibillion-dollar plant is the largest private investment in the state since World War II.

“As a kid who grew up in Beaver County, I’m proud it will be home to Shell’s cracker plant,” Christiana said.

“Make no mistake,” he added. “The supply of ethane will be a strong catalyst to making sure the manufacturing resurgence happens here.”

Christiana’s remarks came before a panel on the cracker plant, which is expected to open in the early 2020s and create 600 permanent jobs, according to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. Jim Sewell, environmental manager for Shell Chemical Appalachia, said the plant will have its own safety team and be fully staffed at all times.

David Ruppersberger, president of the Pittsburgh Regional Alliance, said he expects the plant to result in “other plastic users” locating in western Pennsylvania.

“The dichotomy right now is between where plastics manufacturers are and where the polyethylene is,” Ruppersberger said. “Moving that raw material closer to the manufacturers has a definite economic advantage.”

Michael Marr, business integration lead for Shell Appalachia, agreed. “The proximity to the Marcellus Shale and ethane resources was a key factor” in locating the plant in Pennsylvania, Marr said.

“It all starts with ethane — it’s the most efficient feedstock,” said Todd Whittemore, Shell Global Solutions U.S. global technology manager for polyethylene.

This will be the first time since the 1960s that Shell has built a new plant in the United States, Whittemore noted.

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Joe Massaro Joe Massaro

Joe Massaro is based in Bravo Group's Pittsburgh office and has deep energy industry expertise. He previously served as the field director for a Pennsylvania-based oil and gas industry grassroots PR firm.

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