R.M. Baker, & D. L. Passmore. (2012, August 16). Cracking the ethane cracker. Invited presentation at the 2012 WIB Symposium, “Innovation through Integration: Re-Inventing the Workforce System,” sponsored by the Pennsylvania Association of Workforce Investment Boards, State College, Pennsylvania. (see http://pawib2012.tumblr.com)
Shell Chemical LP, a petrochemical unit of Royal Dutch Shell, signed a land purchase option agreement with Horsehead Corporation, a producer of specialty zinc and zinc-based products and a recycler of electric arc furnace dust, to evaluate a site in western Pennsylvania for a potential petrochemical complex. The site is located in Potter and Center Townships in Beaver County near Monaca, Pennsylvania, which is 40 miles northwest of Pittsburgh.
The site currently houses a Horsehead’s plant for zinc products and contains the only electrothermic zinc refining facility in the Western Hemisphere. If the land purchase option is exercised, Horsehead Corporation will vacate the Monaca facility by April 2014.
Shell’s plans for the complex include an ethane cracker that would process ethane feedstock from “wet” Marcellus Shale gas to supply ethylene for a wide variety of intermediate sales to industries and for final end use in manufactured products. “Cracking” involves heating and separating the large hydrocarbon chains found in fossil fuels such as natural gas and petroleum into lighter hydrocarbons such as ethane.
In this workshop, a report by the American Chemical Council (ACC) [Shale Gas and New Petrochemicals Investment: Benefits for the Economy, Jobs, and US Manufacturing] of the potential static U.S. job and tax impacts of ethane production is examined. Then, the results are presented from an analysis prepared by researchers from Penn State’s Institute for Research in Training & Development (IRTD) of the potential dynamic economic and demographic impacts of the Royal Dutch Shell petrochemical complex planned for western Pennsylvania. Special attention is paid to the implications that these impacts estimated by ACC and the IRTD hold for regional workforce development in Pennsylvania.