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UPDATE: W.Va. Cracker Chase Enters Waiting Phase

Updated 3/16/2012 9:20 P.M.

It's not coming to West Virginia, but could there still be a "cracker" plant in our future? That's what lawmakers who tried to get one located here are hoping for.

Veteran Republican State Senator Donna Boley said both the administration and the West Virginia Legislature did its best to help Shell locate a "cracker" plant in the Mountain State.

Citing issues with relocating a casino to get enough land for the project, Shell instead opted Thursday to build the plant in neighboring Pennsylvania. Boley, however, is one of several lawmakers optimistic that a second plant could be located in the state...and even in Wood County.

"There's a couple of other sites they're looking at in West Virginia," Boley said from Charleston Friday. "So, until we get a 'no', on those two, I think the officials down here are optimistic."

And even Shell's decision may not be a complete loss for the state. The plant is slated to be built a little more than ten miles from Hancock County, or almost directly across the state border.

"What we'll try to find out is one, what's happening with the second plant," First District Congressman David McKinley said Thursday, "and two, what can we do to find business that will use the propane, butane and ethylene by-products for the plastics industry, how can we locate them here."

Shell, incidentally, says construction of a plant is years away...with the next steps being environmental and design studies and further economic analysis.
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UPDATE: 3/15/2012

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) - West Virginia officials are disappointed that Shell did not choose to locate its chemical processing plant in the state. But they believe it will benefit from the plant's location 12 miles from the border in Pennsylvania.

Shell announced plans on Thursday to build the so-called cracker plant in nearby Monaca, Pa.

Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin's chief of staff, Rob Alsop, says the close location means West Virginians likely will help build and operate the multibillion-dollar facility.

Alsop also cited significant potential from so-called downstream opportunities. These include jobs from supplying the plant and making products from what it processes.

West Virginia also remains in the running for at least one other cracker plant. These facilities crack or convert a byproduct of natural gas drilling into a widely used chemical compound.

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)



UPDATE: 3/15/2012

PITTSBURGH (AP) - Shell Oil Co. says it has chosen a site near Pittsburgh for a major new petrochemical refinery that could provide a huge economic boost to the region.

Dan Carlson, Shell's General Manager of New Business Development, said Thursday that the energy company signed a land option agreement with Horsehead Corp. to evaluate a site near Monaca. That's about 35 miles northwest of Pittsburgh.

The decision is a victory for Pennsylvania, which had offered major incentives for the plant and was competing with Ohio and West Virginia.

Shell says it could spend several billion dollars to build an ethylene cracker plant that converts natural gas liquids to products including plastics, tires and antifreeze.

But Shell says construction of a plant is years away. The next steps are environmental and design studies and further economic analysis.

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)



Rep (R)David B. McKinley - Public Statement

“This news is disappointing and puzzling. The key considerations for Shell reportedly centered on rail, rivers, and roads, all of which West Virginia has in abundance. Our workforce is also second-to-none, and Shell did not dispute that.

“I am hopeful that West Virginia can still land a cracker facility from another company. In order to do so, however, business and political leaders need to stop acting independently and start working as a team to address any structural deficits in our infrastructure, fiscal or tax policies that may have caused Shell to look elsewhere. A united front always conveys greater strength and purpose.”



Senator (D)Joe Manchin - Public Statement

“While we’re disappointed that Shell chose to narrow its focus to a Pennsylvania location, we need to work together as a region to develop the Marcellus shale and attract more than one cracker facility,” Senator Manchin said. “We know that no matter where any cracker facility is built, it’s going to take plenty of West Virginia workers and West Virginia resources to operate the plant. The bottom line is, whether the cracker plant is built in Pennsylvania, West Virginia or Ohio, the plant is going to create good-paying manufacturing jobs and revitalize our chemical industry, keeping America strong and competitive.

“In addition, I am still very hopeful that there will be more than one cracker plant built, and that the next facility will come to West Virginia. I will continue to tell the world that we are open for business and fighting for every job. We have the best workforce in the country, and I am pleased that many hardworking West Virginians will have the opportunity to work at this facility if and when Shell makes the decision to build it.”



UPDATE: 3/15/2012

PITTSBURGH (AP) - Shell Oil Co. says it has chosen a site near Pittsburgh for a major new petrochemical refinery.

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)



UPDATE: 2/2/2012

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) - West Virginia's hunt for a multibillion-dollar chemical plant has come down to talks between the potential investors and private property owners.

That's how Commerce Secretary Keith Burdette characterizes the status of the state's pursuit of one or more cracker plants.

A cracker converts or cracks molecules in a byproduct of Marcellus shale natural gas into a widely used compound. The industry estimates a West Virginia cracker could create more than 12,000 jobs.

Of the potential investors, Burdette said Shell is focused on sites in the Northern Panhandle. An as-yet-unidentified company is looking in the Kanawha Valley and Parkersburg areas.

West Virginia is competing with Ohio and Pennsylvania for a cracker. West Virginia would slash property taxes for 25 years in exchange for an investment of at least $2 billion.

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


CHARLESTON, W.V. (AP) - West Virginia's House of Delegates is supporting a 25-year tax break aimed at luring a huge new chemical plant.

The proposal from Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin passed to the Senate on Monday with one opposing vote.

Tomblin wants to slash property taxes for any business that invests at least $2 billion to build a cracker. This would apply to real estate as well as machinery, equipment and inventory.

Cracker plants convert a byproduct from Marcellus shale gas drilling into a widely used chemical compound. Industry groups estimate one would bring 12,000 jobs to West Virginia.

The House suspended its rules to allow for Monday's vote ahead of schedule. The Senate Finance Committee expects to visit the topic Tuesday.

Ohio and Pennsylvania also are competing for a cracker plant.

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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