A couple of weeks ago we traveled to Monaca, Pennsylvania to speak with the Shell Chemical Company to discuss the ethane cracker facility currently being built there. Thursday night, Environmental Manager for Shell, Jim Sewell spoke to the Ohio Valley Oil and Gas Association at their 2017 General Member meeting. One thing he mentioned is why they chose that area.
"We're right in the middle of the Marcellus Shale," Sewell told the crowd. "We're in the market for that. So production in the other stream is taking place."
Sewell also said, although the facility is being built in Monaca, the impact will be felt all across the Northern Panhandle from what he can tell in their Tuesday safety meetings.
"It's only 400 people, to me that's a huge economic impact. Some of those people are driving over from Ohio, some of them are an hour away or whatever, but a lot of them are coming locally, to me that's amazing," Sewell said.
People in attendance agreed with Sewell that this facility will be helpful.
"To me that's a great thing having that in our area," OVOGA President AJ Smith told 7News Reporter Nick Conigliaro. "That's definitely going to benefit everyone in the community as far as jobs and local businesses."
Sewell also told the OVOGA how the plant is coming along, saying they've made travel easier, are having permits approved, and the biggest issue Sewell said he's dealt with is parking, so they're also working on a garage for the cars.
For OVOGA President AJ Smith, seeing these improvements has him optimistic for the potential plant in Belmont County, "Having a cracker plant nearby, is actually good for having another cracker plant because they share a lot of resources."
Shell is still dealing with a few lawsuits involving their permits, which could halt production, but Sewell doesn't believe it will.