Shell set to buy land in Beaver County for potential ethane cracker
Royal Dutch Shell agreed to buy the former Horsehead Holdings Corp. zinc smelter site in Beaver County as it continues to mull a decision on building a multibillion-dollar ethane cracker there.
Shell said Friday its decision to exercise a purchase option agreement that it extended for more than two years does not signal a final plan to move ahead with the project along the Ohio River in Center and Potter. It is awaiting environmental permits from the state and evaluating the economics of the plant, which would convert ethane from natural gas drilling into chemicals used to make plastic.
“We will make that decision when our full project evaluation is complete,” spokeswoman Kimberly Windon said, noting the company is doing some work on the land and nearby roads. “The land purchase is a necessary step for Shell to advance the permitting process and allows us to proceed with some preliminary site development work.”
Neither Shell nor Horsehead disclosed the purchase price and they did not set a closing date on the deal.