News & Events

Ben Franklin’s SGICC Releases White Paper on How to Take Advantage of the Development of a Petrochemical Complex in Our Own Back Yard!

STATE COLLEGE, PA – On June 16, 2016, Shell formally announced their decision to move forward with building the ethane cracker plant and petrochemical complex in Beaver County, PA. This announcement marks the beginning of a new era for our region – a renaissance in the United States’ petrochemical industry. Twenty years ago no one would have imagined that Pennsylvania would be home to a new major petrochemical complex. Now it is expected that the Shell announcement is just the first of multiple major industrial projects in the region, all due to the shale energy boom and the natural gas liquids (NGLs) being produced from it.

The question every business should now be asking is how they can take advantage of this opportunity. Can they get engaged in the multi-year construction of the complex and others that will be coming? Can they provide product(s) or services during the building projects, or ongoing operations of the industry? And furthermore, can they take advantage of the myriad of opportunities to utilize the products (in the case of the Shell Cracker primarily polyethylene resin pellets) that will become available from the conversion of the NGLs to intermediates?

Ben Franklin’s SGICC Has Released a White Paper Overview Regarding the Shell Petrochemical Complex. The white paper is available for review on the SGICC web site at:

“We decided that it would be helpful to our existing clients, and all PA- based companies to pull together a summary white paper to allow them to gain a good understanding of what the Shell Cracker is, the timeline as we could ascertain for its development, and a broad view of what the buildout of the petrochemical industry means to our Commonwealth”, commented Bill Hall SGICC Director. “The large quantities of NGLs that are being produced in the southwestern corner of our state and throughout the wet gas region of the Marcellus and Utica plays is something incredibly unique. This asset-rich region provides the building blocks for the petrochemical industry. We wanted to provide a resource for stakeholders that allows them to gain a basic understanding of what is about to take place in Beaver County and beyond.”

Hall also noted that developing the paper was challenging as there are many moving parts, and even with the Shell Cracker, there are many pieces that remain to be solidified. “We’ve done our best to search for all publicly available information regarding the project, but readers of the paper should understand that what we are sharing is a snapshot at this time of where things appear to stand.”

The Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development has also been actively working to discuss how communities can leverage potential investments and development opportunities related to Royal Dutch Shell’s decision to build a new ethane cracker plant in Beaver County.

“We are looking closely at how to position Pennsylvania to derive additional economic opportunities—understanding market dynamics, readying our workforce, and preparing industrial sites,” said Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development Secretary Dennis Davin. “The research offered by SGICC is invaluable to our process.”

Hall reflected, “This is an exciting time for our state and the region! Now we have the lowest cost feedstock in huge quantities right here in our own backyard, and the industry is returning! It truly is an incredible story!”

About the SGICC

The Ben Franklin Shale Gas Innovation and Commercialization Center ( supports and commercializes early-stage technologies that enhance responsible stewardship of the environment while properly utilizing this energy asset.