Thursday, June 9, 2016

PREIT "New Shell Chemical Plant Will ‘Revitalize The Trade Area"

by Steve Lubetkin,
Put a petrochemical plant less than two miles away from a shopping mall, and what do you get? In Pennsylvania, at least, you get ringing praise from the REIT that owns the mall.

Shell Chemical Appalachia says it has decided to build a major petrochemical plant in Potter Township, about 30 miles northwest of Pittsburgh, PA, and Pennsylvania Real Estate Investment Trust says it’s thrilled to have the plant less than two miles from PREIT’s Beaver Valley Mall.

Shell announced that construction on the chemical complex, which includes an ethylene cracker with polyethylene derivatives unit, will start in approximately 18 months, with commercial production expected to begin early in the next decade. Shell is acquiring a 1,000-acre former zinc smelting facility for the new plant site.

“Shell Chemicals has recently announced final investment decisions to expand alpha olefins production at our Geismar site in Louisiana and, with our partner CNOOC in China, to add a world-scale ethylene cracker with derivative units to our existing complex there,” says Graham van’t Hoff, executive vice president for Royal Dutch Shell’s global Chemicals business. “This third announcement demonstrates the growth of Shell in chemicals and strengthens our competitive advantage.”

The complex will use low-cost ethane from shale gas producers in the Marcellus and Utica basins to produce 1.6 million tons of polyethylene per year. Polyethylene is used in many products, from food packaging and containers to automotive components.

“We are encouraged by the progress being made toward the proposed new cracker plant.  This transaction creates tremendous opportunity for Beaver Valley Mall and sets the stage to completely revitalize the trade area,” says Joseph F. Coradino, PREIT CEO. “As plans move forward, the construction of this multibillion dollar facility will create significant economic activity and new jobs and produce nearly $5 billion in chemical output, making Monaca a critical piece of the manufacturing and industrial activity in the region.”

PREIT quotes a study by Robert Morris University’s School of Business from December 2014, which says construction of the plant is expected to result in an increase in construction and ancillary employment by an annual average of approximately 3,700-4,600 jobs in Pennsylvania over the five-year construction period.  Once the plant is open, it is expected that more than 5,000 plant and ancillary jobs will be created in Pennsylvania with approximately 400-900 in Beaver County.

The facility will be built on the banks of the Ohio River in Potter Township. Because of its close proximity to gas feedstock, the complex, and its customers, will benefit from shorter and more dependable supply chains, compared to supply from the Gulf Coast. The location is also ideal because more than 70 percent of North American polyethylene customers are within a 700-mile radius of Pittsburgh.

The project will bring new growth and jobs to the region, with up to 6,000 construction workers involved in building the new facility, and an expected 600 permanent employees when completed.

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