Corbett: Shell not considering other sites for Beaver County ethane cracker

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Royal Dutch Shell is not scouting other states for sites to put the massive petrochemical plant that it has delayed building in Pennsylvania, Gov. Tom Corbett said Wednesday.

"If they're going to build it, they're going to build it here," said Mr. Corbett in an interview following a morning speech at a natural gas conference at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center, Downtown.

Shell signed a purchase agreement in March to build the ethane cracker plant on 300 acres in Monaca, a move that was heralded as a coup for the governor, who orchestrated a massive tax-incentive plan that helped beat offers from West Virginia and Ohio. The plant will process ethane extracted from the Marcellus Shale natural gas formation underlying the region.

But some feared the site selection wasn't a done deal when the company extended the purchase agreement by six months in December.

Mr. Corbett said Wednesday the extension is due to lawyers "dotting I's and crossing T's."

"I've not heard anything that's taking it off the rails," he said.

The nation's overall economic health, and not state jockeying, will determine whether Shell delays further or decides to pursue the project at all, he said.

During a speech delivered at the Marcellus Midstream conference Wednesday, Mr. Corbett had added a caveat to his section on the cracker plant, saying the facility -- "if built" -- will lead to thousands of jobs and a robust economy of spinoff companies.

The state has offered Shell a tax exemption package that is thought to be worth more than $1 billion for the plant.

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Erich Schwartzel: eschwartzel@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1455. First Published January 30, 2013 10:30 AM


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