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Shell Goes Out To Bid For Ethane, Next Step Toward Proposed Cracker Plant

Shell has not yet made a final decision regarding plans to build a multibillion dollar petrochemical plant in Beaver County.

Reuters /LUKE MACGREGOR /LANDOV

Shell has not yet made a final decision regarding plans to build a multibillion dollar petrochemical plant in Beaver County.

Shell Oil Co. announced today that the company is looking for ethane suppliers for its proposed cracker plant in Monaca, Beaver County.

The deal is far from done on the facility, but Shell said in a project update that “securing additional ethane supply is one of the key components in determining next steps as part of the ongoing site evaluation process.”

The company will be accepting bids through early October.

Gov. Tom Corbett, a major proponent of the project, was pleased with the announcement.

“If built, this project is projected to result in 10,000 construction jobs, at least 400 direct jobs and more than 10,000 jobs created in chemical and supply chain industries,” Corbett said in a statement. “The generational impact is why we are all dedicated to ensuring, once built, that this facility is successful.”

Corbett successfully pushed to give the company a tax break worth $1.65 billion last June in hopes of wooing not just Shell, but others in the petrochemical industry.

Shell announced in March 2012 it had chosen Pennsylvania for the site of its proposed multi-billion dollar ethane cracker. An ethane cracker is a type of plant that breaks down shale oil and gas into smaller molecules to create ethalyne which is used for manufacturing plastics.

Shell is not expected to make a final decision on the facility until next year.

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