Dozens of cranes fill the skyline over the Ohio River a Shell Polymers builds an ethane cracker plant. Credit: James Bruggers The same economic forces that are delaying construction of a plastics plant in Ohio will make another one under construction in western Pennsylvania less profitable and riskier to shareholders, an economic think tank warns in a new report. The massive, multibillion-dollar Shell Polymers plant rising from the banks of the Ohio River in Beaver County, Pennsylvania, is expected to make 1.6 million metric tons of plastic pellets annually—the building blocks for such products as bags, bottles, food packaging and toys. But a new study from the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis warns that Shell will be making less plastic and less money while facing increasingly stiff competition. That means the company won’t likely be able to hire as many workers and will contribute less to the local economy, IEEFA concludes. One key factor: the price of plastics has fallen 40 percent since the plant was planned several years ago, as a global petrochemical industry has raced to boost production capacity. These changing economics, made worse by fallout from the coronavirus pandemic, will have significant implications for […]


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