Shell moves a step closer to new U.S. ‘cracker’ plant

This week Shell Chemical signed a land option agreement with Horsehead Corporation that brings the company one step closer to building a petrochemical complex in the state of Pennsylvania.

A rise in locally-produced ethane — a chemical derivative of natural gas that ACC member companies rely on to develop many of their products — would bring a much needed economic boost to the struggling Appalachia region, while supporting an American manufacturing renaissance led by the business of chemistry.

ACC President and CEO Cal Dooley said in a statement:

Shell Chemical’s decision to take the next step in considering a new ethane cracker for the United States—the first in over a decade—is great news for further domestic expansion in chemistry, and in turn the broader manufacturing sector. Our new competitive edge, made possible by abundant shale gas, can generate new jobs and increased exports in the many industries that rely on chemistry and plastics.

ACC estimates that, were Shell to move forward with building the new petrochemical complex, more than 10,000 new permanent jobs would be created in chemical and supplier industries. Shell expects 10,000 construction jobs will result from site development — news welcomed by local residents and townships.

Shell’s announcement reinforces the critical role of harnessing natural gas as part of a comprehensive domestic energy strategy, as well as for creating jobs and boosting U.S. exports.

Keep in mind, Shell is only one among several chemistry companies that have announced plans to expand production or explore new investments in major manufacturing facilities.

In other words, there’s more good news over the horizon.

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