Update: Shell Cracker Plant Given OK in Western PA

January 20, 2017

The town council of Potter, Pa., unanimously approved a conditional use permit late Wednesday to allow a unit of Royal Dutch Shell PLC to move forward with construction of a multibillion-dollar petrochemical complex near Pittsburgh. The facility will use ethane from shale gas producers in the Marcellus and Utica basins in Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia to produce 1.6 million tonnes of polyethylene per year.

The project is expected to bring up to 6,000 construction jobs to the area when it begins construction late 2017. Shell is still waiting on a permit from the state of Pennsylvania, but is continuing site prep work in anticipation of construction.

The ethane plant has been facing critics saying it poses local health and environmental risks. Supporters welcome the expected creation of hundreds of permanent jobs.