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Project Can Spur Expansion in Downstream Manufacturing

WASHINGTON (January 19, 2017) – The American Chemistry Council (ACC) today responded to the unanimous vote by the township of Potter, Pa. last evening approving a conditional use permit that will allow Royal Dutch Shell to move forward with construction of a major petrochemical complex near Pittsburgh. Last June, Shell announced that Shell Chemical Appalachia LLC had taken the final investment decision to build the complex, which will be comprised of an ethylene cracker with polyethylene derivatives unit.

“We applaud local Pennsylvania officials for their vote of confidence in Shell’s project, which has exciting potential to help make the region a hub of manufacturing activity and job creation,” said Cal Dooley, ACC President and CEO. “Thanks to abundant supplies of natural gas, the U.S. chemical industry is investing in new facilities and expanded production capacity, which tends to attract downstream industries that rely on petrochemical products. Shell’s pioneering project – the first of its kind outside the Gulf Coast – could be the cornerstone for regional economic growth for decades to come.”

Shell’s complex will use low-cost ethane from shale gas producers in the Marcellus and Utica basins to produce polyethylene, which is used in a variety of products, from food packaging and containers to automotive components. Ethane, a natural gas liquid, is the U.S. chemical industry’s main feedstock.

As of this month, 281 chemical industry projects valued at $170 billion have been announced, about half of which are completed or under construction. These new factories and capacity expansions will create hundreds of thousands of permanent new jobs throughout the U.S. economy by 2023.

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More than 800,000 Americans rely on jobs in the chemistry industry—earning 47 percent more than the average manufacturing wage.