Commission developing cracker plant impact study

The Northwest Commission, an eight-county economic development agency based in Oil City, has announced plans for a regional economic impact study focusing on the potential impact of the Shell cracker plant on northwestern Pennsylvania counties.

The study is aimed at identifying whether direct and in-direct job growth could result from the plant.

“Bringing this scale of plant to Pennsylvania is truly a ‘game changer’ as it not only will produce large quantities of low cost polyethylene, as building block for so many plastic products, but it will also open a door for an associated downstream manufacturing industry to develop,” said Jill Foys, executive director of the commission.

The plant has the potential to spur business to position themselves for opportunities, said Foys.

“The combination of lower costs for feedstock and resin – which results from abundance and proximity – should result in a host of opportunities for manufacturers,” she said.

Regional planners in northwestern Pennsylvania need to be identifying potential investment targets, prime locations for prospective companies to build facilities, necessary infrastructure upgrades and appropriate incentives to attract investors and prospects, noted the commission.

The scope of the work will include assessments of:

— Regional supply chain opportunities, including the potential for more petrochemical and plastics manufacturing

— Regional assets such as transportation, utilities, pipelines, land and workforce development

— Regional targeted industry strategy that would identify what industries to attract, properties and transportation needed for those industries and potential sites.

The agency has advertised for proposals from companies interested in doing the study. The tentative date for the study to begin is in November.