On August 15, 2015 9:47 am
Letter to the Editor
Western Pennsylvania is under the hand of an incredible energy revolution.
To some, the region’s oil and gas industry may have a hard exterior. But once you dig into the soft center of this industry, you’ll find a myriad of economic benefits, cracking open the Pittsburgh area.
Along these lines, at this time, Western Pennsylvania is at a crossroads — regarding Shell’s proposed ethane cracker plant in Beaver County.
Operators are producing an incredible amount of oil, condensate and natural gas from the Marcellus and Utica shale plays. With this hydrocarbon stream, we are capturing a glut of natural gas liquids, including ethane, propane, butane, pentane and other, heavier products.
Ethane has many different uses, but is more valuable in the form of ethylene — a plastic that has worldwide consumption. The ethane cracker will thermally break down ethane into ethylene.
If Western Pennsylvania is producing record-breaking amounts of ethane, why are we shipping this product down to Southern states?
Ethane is in oversupply. It’s a no-brainer — let’s band together, support Shell’s cracker plant and spur the creation of thousands of jobs. It’s all about keeping things local.
The writer is studying petroleum engineering at Penn State University.