A recent study commissioned by Shell Chemical Appalachia estimates that the soon-to-be-operational petrochemical plant in Beaver County will generate nearly $3.7 billion for the state’s economy annually.
The study by professors at Robert Morris University is a follow-up to one performed in 2014, when planning began, on its estimated benefits. The plant along the Ohio River is expected to employ about 600 when operational, while as many as 8,000 workers have been constructing the massive complex. The plant is expected to begin operation in 2022, and Shell recently announced construction is 80 percent complete and the first electricity from its self-contained power plant was sent to the grid.
In Beaver County alone, the complex is expected to produce $260 million to $846 million in annual economic activity from wages, benefits, and related spending, depending on the number of county residents employed there. The study estimates that between 40 and 75 percent of the workers will live in Beaver County. Local wage tax revenue will be between $550,000 and $902,254 annually.
In the 10-county region surrounding the plant – Allegheny, Armstrong, Butler, Fayette, Greene, Indiana, Lawrence, Washington, and Westmoreland – about $3.3 billion in economic activity will be generated from the plant and other business activity that will result.
The state would collect an additional $23 million a year in state income tax. Over the 40-year life of the project, the cracker plant would result in $81.7 billion in economic activity statewide, the authors found.
While Shell received about $1.7 billion in state tax credits to attract the $6 billion to $10 billion project to Beaver County, the RMU study determined that return on that investment is substantial.
“That is money that Pennsylvania wouldn’t have had otherwise that policymakers can use for social programs or other benefits to the public good,” said Marcel Minutolo, RMU professor of strategic management and one of the report authors.