Officials tout economic ripple effect of Beaver Co. Cracker Plant

Shell’s cracker facility currently under construction in Beaver County will play a pivotal role in establishing the entire region as a manufacturing hub and pave the way for further investment opportunities, local businessmen and officials said on Thursday.

Local commercial real estate developer Von Fisher highlighted that “plastics are something we need — everything around us is plastic” during a webinar Thursday hosted by the Pittsburgh Business Times. Fisher is Vice President at Ambridge Regional Distribution and Manufacturing Center, a member of the Beaver County Chamber of Commerce, a longtime PEIA member.

Speaking on the impact the Shell cracker has on attracting investment, Fisher said, “basically, the cracker creates the Legos which are used to create a bunch of different things.” Building off of that, Fisher mentioned an interesting shift in his firms marketing strategy as they have begun marketing nationally to plastics and chemical companies as he “foresees the region being a major player in both industries going forward.”

The Shell plant isn’t the only major energy asset in Beaver County, where several pipelines intersect to deliver gas byproducts to market. Among them is the Revolution Pipeline Project, an approximately 40.5 mile, 24-inch diameter pipeline carrying natural gas between two processing facilities and traversing Allegheny, Beaver, Butler, and Washington counties. Projects like this and others are essential to ensuring Beaver County and the entire commonwealth realize the full potential of the region’s energy resources.

The region has recently seen a surge in coronavirus cases. Despite that, cracker plant construction, led by skilled labor, is still cautiously moving forward, thanks much in part to the company’s dedication to the project and enacting safety measures to limit the spread of COVID-19.

Beaver County Economic Development Official Lew Vilotti praised Shell’s attentiveness to safety and environmentally conscious approach to operation under COVID-19 and in general, stating, “there is no more safety-oriented and no more environmentally-oriented company” than Shell during this process.