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Shell Cracker Plant Takes Shape In Beaver County

POTTER TWP. (KDKA) -- Loading up a bus with invited journalists, Shell Chemicals officials led a tour of the 340 acre site in Potter Township now being prepared for the construction of a petrochemical cracker plant.

"That's where the cracker is going to be built. Further forward in the area in front with the piles and mud vats that's where the go-gen is going to be, where we produce steam and electricity and then on my right-hand side is the polyethelene units themselves," explained project manager Terry Letherby.

When completed in 2020, the new cracker plant will employ 600 people, but it will take 6,000 people -- many local -- to build this huge complex beginning in late 2017.

The Ohio River is critical to this cracker plant.

"For the construction phase it's critical. Some of the equipment we're bringing in to the site are too big to bring in by rail, too big to bring in by road, so the only way to get equipment to the site is by barge," said Toby Stewart with Shell Chemicals.

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And what about the impact on this region outside the cracker plant?

"There was a study that was done by Robert Morris that suggested $6 billion of economic impact here as a result of this particular development," said Pennsylvania Secretary of Economic Development Dennis Davis.

$6 billion for the region?

Gov. Wolf said that's just a start -- like the first steel mill built in Pittsburgh.

"I'm not sure this isn't somewhat the same thing. They're going to be jobs well beyond we can anticipate over the next ten, twenty, forty years in this area. This is a big deal," he said.

One visit to the site is enough to convince anyone of the massive scale of this project which promises jobs for years to come.

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