MONACA, Pa. (WYTV) – Beaver County’s new $6 billion “Shell cracker plant” has been under construction for the last several years and still has many months left to go.
The chemical plant sits in Monaca, just about one-third completed. Some believe we could one day see four or five more of them being built in the region.
The plant will take ethane extracted from natural gas drilling and convert it into small plastic pellets that will be used in many products, like pipelines or food packaging.
It was built in Beaver County to take advantage of the Marcellus Shale natural gas play.
Valley Congressman Bill Johnson says it will have a huge impact on our local energy needs.
“32% of America’s natural gas demand is coming from this shale region. By 2040, that’s going to be approaching 40%. By 2050, it’s gonna be over 50%. We’ve got a lot of energy resources right here that can move America forward in so many fronts,” he said.
Johnson took a tour of the plant Wednesday morning. Although it sits outside his district, he says the next one could be built in Belmont County, one he says could “dwarf” the Monaca one.
By the end of this year, Johnson believes about 6,000 people could be working on the Monaca construction site.