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Corbett Says Shell Ethane Cracker's Future Is Still In Doubt

Susan Phillips / StateImpact Pennsylvania

Gov. Tom Corbett stands in front of the shuttered Sunoco refinery in Marcus Hook, Delaware County.

Governor Corbett says a $1.6 billion production tax credit, coupled with a 15-year tax amnesty window, is only good enough for a 50-percent chance Shell will build a multi-billion dollar ethane cracker in Beaver County.
Speaking near Monaca yesterday, Corbett praised legislators for approving what could turn out to be the largest tax break in state history. But according to the Tribune-Review, the Republican said Shell may still balk on building the petrochemical plant.

Beaver County has better than a 50 percent shot of getting Shell’s gas-fed petrochemical facility built, Gov. Tom Corbett said during a stop at the proposed site on Thursday.
But he still has some big fears.
“I have a fear that the economy could go bad … and they may say ‘We’re going to wait a year or two,’ ” said Corbett, flanked by several state legislators from the region in front of the zinc plant where Shell hopes to build. “I don’t think any of us want them to wait a year or two.”
…Shell is doing financial and environmental assessments before committing, Corbett said, adding that he couldn’t go into further detail because of the state’s confidentiality agreements with the company. Shell officials are probably still evaluating their ability to secure enough ethane from local gas drilling to feed the plant, and the market for that ethane is very competitive, experts and local officials have said.

Last month, an economic analyst told StateImpact Pennsylvania that an east coast ethane cracker is a risky proposition, and likely wouldn’t be profitable without the tax breaks Corbett pushed for.

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