- Shell Chemical Appalachia announced it will build a multibillion-dollar petrochemical plant in Beaver County, PA, which will provide approximately 6,000 construction jobs and 600 permanent jobs over the next 10 years, according to The Philadelphia Inquirer.
- The state authorized a $1.65-billion, 25-year tax credit to entice the company to build its "ethane cracker" plant there — a move that state and local leaders said would "transform the state's shale-gas industry." Experts estimate the plant construction could cost approximately $11 billion.
- The plant will process around 105,000 barrels daily of ethane now being sent via pipeline to plants in other areas of the country and Canada.
Shell entered into project labor agreements (PLAs) for site work and construction several years ago, and 17 area building trade unions will provide the lion's share of the construction workforce, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. In anticipation of the plant construction moving forward, local union officials said they’ve been ramping up apprenticeship programs and training so that they will be able man the project appropriately.
This announcement is welcome news to an area hit hard by the softening of the oil and gas industry in the form of "shuttered" plants and lost jobs. Union officials said some workers have struggled to find jobs amid declining industrial plant construction.
PLAs have been in the spotlight recently, as unions are reportedly starting to lose their grip on some of the country's biggest union strongholds. Some of the largest construction companies in New York City, such as Tishman Construction and Turner Construction, have chosen not to renew bargaining union labor agreements for their backlogs of private work because of the higher cost of union labor versus nonunion labor. And in Boston, nonunion construction labor has been gaining a small foothold due to lower costs and more development.