chooses Pennsylvania, not Ohio, for a multi-billion dollar refinery
March 16, 2012
L. Smith, The Plain Dealer
like one in Carroll County have struck not only dry natural gas in the
shale but also wet gas like ethane, a discovery that could have helped
huge chemical plant to Ohio. On Thursday, Shell Oil Co. announced it
a site near Pittsburgh for a world-scale refinery.
prize to date in the emerging shale gas play will be going to
Ohio, but Ohioans are expected to enjoy some of the fruits of a major
manufacturer just over the border.
In a much
anticipated announcement, Shell Oil Co. said Thursday it had chosen an
industrial site near Pittsburgh for a world-scale petrochemical
oil company may eventually invest billions into a complex that could
hundreds of jobs and spark new industries.
Carlson, Shell’s General Manager of New Business Development, said the
signed a land option agreement with Horsehead Corp. to evaluate its
smelter near Monaca, about 35 miles northwest of Pittsburgh.
Virginia and Pennsylvania had all sought the refinery and offered Shell
tax incentives. Monaca is just 20 miles from both Ohio and West
workers and industries in all three states could benefit.
said the Monaca site, along the Ohio River, had the right mix of
transportation strengths “to accommodate facilities for a world scale
petrochemical complex and potential future expansions.”
Governor John Kasich said his office worked hard for the plant but that
deck was stacked in Pennsylvania’s favor.
wasn’t a surprise,” Kasich said Thursday afternoon. “We pitched hard
disappointed, of course, but always understood that Shell leaned toward
building where they owned the gas and liquids. They own 700,00 acres of
over there that they don’t have here. The added cost of a pipeline to
their gas and liquids over here wasn’t something they wanted to do.”
Waltermire, chief executive officer of Team Northeast Ohio, said Ohio
come away empty handed. Shell’s decision puts lucrative chemical
“right in our neighborhood” and that should strengthen the state’s
this stuff is made down in Texas and Louisiana,” he noted. “This is
sign of the significance of our gas play.”
so-called ethylene cracker would convert natural gas liquids into
profitable chemicals, which then go into everything from plastics to
antifreeze. The plants are called crackers because they crack ethane
into smaller chemical components.
resembles a gasoline refinery, with miles of pipes and large storage
final complex could cover several hundred acres.
it clear to me yesterday that there is still no guarantee that they
this -- that decision will come over the next two years,” Kasich said.
cracker rises, other manufacturers will want to build nearby, Kasich
“A lot of
those plants will make plastics,” he added, “and our 100-year
plastics will give Ohio an enormous edge in competing for those
choice may signal how strongly the industry feels about the vast gas
in the region’s shale formations. Any plant must be competitive with
plants in Louisiana, Texas and overseas, Carlson told the Associated
Marcellus and Utica shale formations have attracted a rush of major oil
companies, who have drilled almost 5,000 new wells in the last five
ancient shale beds lie deep beneath large parts of Pennsylvania, Ohio
states made all-out efforts to attract the refinery. West Virginia
slash property tax rates for 25 years while Pennsylvania offered 15
Kasich visited with Shell executives in Houston and delivered support
from Ohio’s legislative leadership. Shell executives also came to Ohio
toured sites with officials of JobsOhio.
preferred site in Ohio was the Belmont County community of Dille’s
the Ohio River, south of Shadyside, The Plain Dealer has learned. The
reportedly offered Shell assistance with infrastructure preparation,
incentives related to job creation, and worker training.
“We knew we
were at a disadvantaged position from the beginning,” Ohio Senate
Niehaus said in an interview in Columbus Thursday, after addressing a
1,500 at the winter conference of the Ohio Oil & Gas
a pipeline and feeder stations in Pennsylvania,” said Niehaus, a New
Republican. “That gave Pennsylvania an inherent advantage, but there
spinoffs. Other companies will locate nearby in Ohio.”
Stewart, executive vice president of the oil and gas association, said
chose an area rich in wet gas, a mixture of gases including ethane.
are also finding wet gas in Ohio’s Utica shale.
needed the cracker,” Stewart said.
Dealer reporters John Funk and Reginald Fields and the Associated Press
contributed to this story.
and other articles at the Cleveland Plain Dealer