On Friday Gov. Tom Corbett announced that Shell Chemical LP is exercising its land option with the Horsehead Corporation to acquire new acreage in Beaver County, Pennsylvania, reports the Pennsylvania Business Daily.
Shell is currently in the process of analyzing the land for a possible multi-billion dollar drilling project. Although the acquisition of the land is moving the company forward, there has yet to be confirmation of the investment being finalized. It is, however, a positive indicator that Shell’s proposed petrochemical facility in Beaver County will march onward.
The plant would extract ethane from the region’s shale formations and convert it into ethylene to be used in the petrochemical industry for products such as plastic, resin, adhesives, and other synthetics. Corbett commented, “On behalf of Pennsylvania’s working families, I will continue to lead Pennsylvania’s bipartisan effort to ensure this multi-billion dollar project continues moving forward. If built, this project would be the single largest industrial investment in Southwest Pennsylvania in a generation.”
Shell began searching for a location for the new plant in 2011 and signed option agreements with numerous Beaver County townships in 2012. Required factors of the location include enough space to build the large-scale plant, roads and railways, access to liquid-rich natural gas and water sources, and the ability to connect to an electrical grid.
The announcement indicates a shift into the latest stage of the new plant’s construction. The next steps to be taken consist of additional site evaluations, appraisal of the local ethane supply, engineering design studies, and continued evaluation of the project’s economic viability.