Gov. Tom Wolf Thursday met with legislators, local government officials, businesses, and other stakeholders to discuss downstream economic opportunities and workforce needs following the June 7 announcement by Royal Dutch Shell that the company plans to build a new ethane cracker plant in Beaver County.
The ethane plant was located in Pennsylvania in part because it will qualify for a $1.8 billion state tax credit over 28 years that was adopted in 2012.
“Shell’s decision to invest and build a new cracker plant in Beaver County is a game-changer, and our success in securing this project has happened thanks to the leadership and hard work on all levels,” Gov. Wolf said. “This project promises positive economic ripple effects for years to come and with a spotlight on Pennsylvania, the commonwealth will skyrocket to the top of the list of potential locations for additional industries, and we need to be sure we’re prepared.”
The discussion, which was held at Penn State Beaver, focused on the project’s demand for at least 6,000 full-time construction jobs and 600 full-time permanent jobs, as well as the estimated $6 billion economic impact on the region.
"We're pleased to host Gov. Wolf today and excited to discuss all of the economic and workforce opportunities that lie ahead as a result of Shell Chemicals,” said Chancellor Jenifer Cushman, Penn State Beaver. “Education is imperative to any region’s growth and development, but particularly to one that is expected to encounter so much change. We hope be an active partner in that change for many years to come.”
“I greatly appreciated the opportunity to participate in today’s roundtable discussion and value the support of the governor and all of our elected public servants, business and industrial leaders as we work together to realize new and exciting opportunities for Beaver County and the region,” said Dr. Chris Reber, president of the Community College of Beaver County (CCBC). “Preparing to address the workforce needs of Shell Chemicals and other organizations that will be impacted by the cracker plant is priority #1 for CBCC. We are also partnering with other educational providers, including high schools, community colleges and four-year universities, to address workforce needs in the areas of engineering and maintenance.”
Shell’s Cracker Plant will be one of the largest of its kind in North America, and the largest single ‘from-the-ground-up’ industrial investment in the Pittsburgh region in a generation. The company is expected to break ground in late 2017, with commercial production expected to begin early next decade.
“I’m glad to welcome to the governor to Beaver County today, and have the opportunity to meet with other elected officials and local stakeholders to discuss the economic opportunities associated with Shell’s new plant,” said Rep. Jim Marshall (R-Beaver). “My goal is to continue our work with Shell to give local manufacturers the ability to provide materials for this project, while ensuring our local workforce will be trained and prepared to work for Shell in the years to come.”
“This is a historic investment in Beaver County economy that I’m happy to have been a part of,” Rep. Jaret Gibbons (D-Beaver) said. “We now have to take the next step and make sure our local workforce is ready and able to step up and fill the jobs. We need to make sure we have an educated workforce that can step right into these jobs.”
The complex will use low-cost ethane from shale gas producers in the Marcellus and Utica basins to produce 1.6 million tons of polyethylene per year. Polyethylene is used in many products, from food packaging and containers to automotive components.
In 2012, the General Assembly passed and Gov. Corbett signed into law House Bill 761 which created a new Resource Manufacturing Tax Credit worth up to about $66 million per year over 28 years starting in December of 2016 and ending in December of 2044.
The tax credit is equal to 5 cents per gallon of ethane purchased and used in manufacturing ethylene in the Commonwealth.
To qualify for the tax credit, a company must invest at least $1 billion in a facility, create at least 2,500 full-time equivalent jobs during construction and meet other requirements.
For more information on the Shell Cracker Plant’s impact on Pennsylvania’s economy, visit DCED’s Natural Gas webpage.
(Photo: Steven Adams, Tribune-Review)
Related Story:Shell To Build Ethane Plant In Beaver, Could Qualify For $1.8 Billion State Tax Credit