Beaver County, PA was selected by Shell Oil Company as the home for a new ethylene production plant in 2016. A factor for selecting this location is because it is close to the Marcellus and Utica Shale formations. As a byproduct of drilling and fracking, natural gas companies in the area produce a surplus of ethane. This plant highlights how once again, the natural gas industry has indirectly brought further economic investment and jobs to the Keystone state. This was an exciting announcement for members of Beaver County and the surrounding counties because of the direct and indirect economic benefits this plant will provide, notably the number of jobs created.
Schneider Downs completed a study that found that construction of this plant is anticipated to provide approximately 6,000 jobs to the region and that when the plant is fully operational it is anticipated to support 600 full-time jobs. Two economics professors at Washington and Jefferson College also looked into the potential economic impact of the plant by conducting a yearlong study. They concluded that Beaver County will experience higher average income and employment numbers because of Shell Chemicals’ ethane cracker plant. In fact, they predicted that Beaver County would see a 10.4 percent increase in per-capita employment numbers, estimating 7,400 new jobs will come here, either directly from the cracker plant directly or due to ancillary spinoff activity. These numbers show why this cracker plant is an asset for the people of Pennsylvania.
A study also showed that Pittsburgh is located within 700 miles of 70% of North American ethylene customers, making this a sound economic investment for Shell.
As we celebrate America’s workers this weekend, we must acknowledge the great benefits that the energy industry is providing workers in Pennsylvania to earn a living wage.