Logo © Shell Chemical
Logo © Shell Chemical
Logo © Shell Chemical

Shell Chemical has agreed to pay for demolition work to begin at the site of the former Horsehead plant outside of Monaca.

Horsehead Corporation has signed an amended agreement with Shell Chemical that not only begins demolition work at the site, but also extends the period of time Shell can continue performing evaluations and make a decision on whether to exercise its option to purchase the location.

Demolition work is expected to begin in the first quarter of 2014 on certain portions of the site.

“The announcement by Horsehead of an extension to the land option agreement reaffirms that both parties remain interested in a future transaction that would transfer ownership of the site to Shell,” said Pittsburgh Regional Alliance President Dewitt Peart in a prepared statement. “The Pittsburgh Regional Alliance is, and remains, optimistic that the site near Monaca, PA will become the home of a state-of-the-art, world-class Shell Chemicals petrochemical facility at the conclusion of the evaluation process.”

That optimism is shared locally by Beaver County Commissioner Joe Spanik.

“This is another great sign pointing toward this project moving forward,” Commissioner Spanik told the Beaver Countian. “The initial lease agreement and option to purchase was one thing, but demolition, that’s just absolutely great. To me, that means this project is moving forward.”

Commissioner Spanik said there is a full crew of 100 Shell employees actively working on the project, and that meetings between Shell and the County have been ongoing.

“On January 7th we have a meeting with Shell and PennDOT on the realignment of Route 18,” said Commissioner Spanik. “We’re going to start getting an idea of how they’re going to move that road and that intersection. Things just keep coming together.”

Shell Chemical issued requests-for-proposals for ethane suppliers back in August, securing commitments from CNX Gas, Hilcorp Energy, Noble Energy, Seneca Resources, and Gulfport Energy.

In December, Shell announced it was narrowing its list of future investment projects by cancelling plans for a competing facility on the Gulf Coast.

If a final decision is made by Shell to move forward with the site in Beaver County, the facility is projected to have an economic impact during construction years of $2.8 billion. The total projected economic output for a single year of operation is expected to be $4.8 billion. Analysts estimate the project will result in 18,000 total jobs during construction, and could support between 2,000 and 8,000 direct and indirect jobs during operation.

“If you want to talk about the holiday season, Beaver County couldn’t have asked for a better Christmas present than this announcement,” concluded Commissioner Spanik.


  1. It’s about time this company pays for something. Doesn’t look so good at Friendship Ridge though. Some frightning rumors going around concerning the workers there. Looks like all the talk about looking out for employees was BS, Joe.

  2. @ Jackson, climb a tree and jump, friendship ridge should of been sold years ago that’s the fuck up these commissioners did it’s not that they sold out they should sold the bottom less money pit, years ago and don’t play that my mother could be patient or cousin works there is bull shit, not county responsibility to run that place

    • It’s not the taxpayers responsibility to subsidize private companies like shell and the federal government doesn’t want to pay for your mother’s medicaid anymore so you and the rest of them can take care of your own because the taxpayers won’t be paying for nursing home care much longer. Go start stocking up on diapers you’re going to be quite busy.

      • And you can thank Nobama Care for the Medicaid and Medicare debacle. Oh wait, that’s Bush’s fault too. Right?

      • Stop bitching about Obamacare cutting your medicare and medicaid. It’s time you chisslers are thrown off the dole. No more socialism for old pricks at the expence of the young. You should have saved your money for your old age. Take a few less trips to the casino.

      • Ok jackoff4570-YOUR the one who keeps complaining about the cuts to Medicaid for the Friendship Ridge residents, Not me or anyone else for that matter. I’m just telling you WHY that is happening. And BTW, I’m nowhere near the age to be one of their residents or collecting SS benefits. I will be one of the ones who will NEVER see that benefit, even though I pay into it every 2 weeks for the last 20+ years, and will for the rest of my working life. Thanks to you and your stupid voting choices. :omg:

      • That sounds like BS to me. For someone who is years from senior citzen benefits you seem to remember quite a bit of Aliquippa politics from the seventies. Sounds like you’re a typical tea bag idiot. Take away everyone elses welfare but my own.

      • What an interesting time in Beaver County history. In my humble opinion we’re at a crossroads. In fact I think we’ve been here for 30 years or more now. If anyone reads this please take my tone as one of care, curiosity, interest and not one of a know it all or condescension. I’m opinionated but I also respect everyone else’s opinion as well. In my opinion Beaver County NEEDS jobs. Check that, GOOD jobs. A huge global organization such as Shell building any type of plant here is a good thing.

        I think some great points have been made here about environmental concerns. I have to agree that the fact this plant will be built under modern EPA and DEP regulations will make it cleaner than what the valley had in it’s heyday of steel production. The gas industry has bought themselves some exemptions that other industries don’t have with regards to EPA regs, but, unfortunately, that’s how Washington works. It’s not right but it is what it is. When you read my last paragraph refer back to this comment. Lobbying or what I’d rather call “payola” being given to our elected officials should absolutely be illegal TODAY. Politicians and the two major parties would much rather create the divisive arguments over social issues than let we the people focus on the issue of buying the votes of our elected officials. It’s ridiculous.

        With respect to Unions. I am of the opinion that the Union’s best days are far behind them. I’ve been a dues paying member in my past and so have all of my family. We can argue about history and what could have or should have been but I’m not going to partake in that. I’m far more interested in the future as a young family man in my 30’s. What Horsehead has apparently done is obviously nothing new. Companies closing Union facilities and moving them to non-organized facilities has been going on for decades as we’re all very aware. Sit in any high level business meeting and you’ll hear that this is the reality and it isn’t going to change. Business and Labor attorneys laugh when they hear a decision is to be made between operating an open shop or a union one. Say what you will but this county needs to accept this reality and find a way to make it work for us. Union’s can still exist in private business but I doubt they’re fair in public enterprises. I say that for a simple reason. If Shell is staffed union (which I question whether it will be and if it is required then it may force them to put this cracker plant somewhere else) then the CBA between the respective union workforces and Shell will be to share fairly in the profits that labor and management will collectively create. I have no problem with that and feel it is fair for bargaining like this to occur. The problem here begins with poor management on both sides. Management not sharing appropriately with labor and labor always wanting a raise whether the bottom line supports it business wise or not. Public jobs being unionized means that they are bargaining for higher pay funded by either their receiving more tax money and underfunding other things or raising taxes. That’s my opinion and if someone can show me how I’m wrong by all means do so. That can’t continue. These aren’t profit creating positions and their effective bargaining shouldn’t raise taxes. Non-union workforces really appear to be what WE”RE ALL looking at in the future.

        Jackson is very passionate about healthcare. I appreciate that passion. However, how is being skeptical and anti-business going to improve healthcare or anything else in this county? Where do you expect funding to come from? Funding that will improve the quality of life for Beaver County residents. It will have to come from business. The bigger the better. What’s the alternative? Beaver County needs to attract JOBS NOW. Manufacturing and similar jobs that pay livable wages and benny’s without requiring college educations is exactly what this county is in desperate need of. Jackson, if you have a better idea please share. Incentivizing organizations to come here with favorable tax breaks is a necessary move. It’s also a common sense business move as the tax base provided by those companies and the jobs they staff will easily create a major ROI in the years to come for this county and our economy.

        Everything is so divisive now. I’m a Libertarian so please don’t call me a Tea Party member. I’m all for small government, freedom of choice so long as those choices don’t interfere with someone else’s liberty. I want lower taxes, created in part by less government jobs. I support more private sector jobs, freedom for businesses to operate sensibly and free from unnecessary and useless regulations. Not all regulations are useless but there are some. Also, gay rights! I want no parts in the divisive argument over who can love who. It’s not my place to say and two women or men getting married doesn’t interfere with my liberty whatsoever. To each his own. Women should have the right to choose to have abortions provided they make that choice in a reasonable amount of time. The gay rights and abortion battles continue to divert attention away from other important and more complex issues in our country like debt, jobs and quality of life. I’m not a Christian. I was raised Christian though and I have no problem with Christian’s practicing their belief. Our country was founded on a principal of religious freedom. So I’m fine with Christians choosing to be against gay rights and abortion. That’s their right as American citizens. I do have a problem with laws being made that don’t treat all American’s as equals.

        Just one man’s opinion. Here’s wishing all a happy new year!

      • Incentivizing organizations to come here with favorable tax breaks is a necessary move. It’s also a common sense business move as the tax base provided by those companies and the jobs they staff will easily create a major ROI in the years to come for this county and our economy.

        I guess you haven’t learned anything from Volkswagon and Sony. They were here and gone with their tax breaks before you were out of diapers. What is Boeing doing in Seattle right now? Demanding that the state give the 8 billion and the union agree to minimum wage for new hires with a 22yr wage ladder as oposed to the present 6 yrs. or they are going to leave and get minmum wage elsewhere So much for those well paying industrial jobs. These bidding wars for corporations result in constant economic dislocations when the tax breaks end and busted state and local budgets. We’re really getting ahead here 600 jobs go south for tax hand outs 400 come back for tax hand outs here.

    • When it was Beaver Valley Geriatric Center it was making money. The county kept borrowing money to help build new courthouse,parking garage, jail and to bail them out of money jams. When they gotrid of the only good administrator they had because he wouldn’t give them money it went down hill. The nursing home kept the county above water for some time. It was past& present commissioners that ruined Friendship Ridge.

  3. I bet Corbett could have “given” Horsehead a couple of hundred million instead of 1.8 billion in tax breaks to a hopeful Shell- and kept the jobs of the guys at Horsehead. Oh yeah that is zinc and not gas!

    • Are you kidding me? Beaver County residents should be thanking their lucky stars that they picked this spot in Pennsylvania . We shouldn’t forget that Shell was looking in West Virginia and Ohio for locations as well. You should thanking Gov Corbett. Horsehead was moving no matter what.

      • Why should anybody be thankful to have a very large, explosive, polluting refinery nearby. It is close to Little Blue with the earthen dam and if it lets loose would kill 50,000 people. It will be close to Shippingport nuclear power plants.
        It will bring forth many manufacturing plants that will be equally polluting and to supply all these plants our land will be fracked to death. We will not have clean water, clean air, our soil will be even more polluted and we will become poor. Every state that has large fossil fuel and chemical activity is poor. The people who stay are poor, they have poor health and the schools are poor. We will not benefit only the drillers, politicians, and investors and a few well paid employees.
        You really want to become a chemical alley as in Louisiana? You really want miles & miles of pipelines that will eventually leak? Are you aware that 6% of the drilled wells have casings fail immediately and 50% fail within 30 years.
        This is insanity, stupidity, irresponsible and above all short sighted greed. Merry Christmas children, every where, the adults have sold you down the river.

      • @Celia-THE SKY IS FALLING, THE SKY IS FALLING! NOT! Another tree hugging misinformed liberal nit-wit.

  4. Is it true the shell oil bought the k mart store in Robinson for there office building or head quarters and the beaver county commissioners gave them a tax abatement for there plant in beaver county what’s wrong with this picture !

  5. He did offer them every tax break and a ton of money. Horsehead had it planned to move to a non union state already. Pennsylvania was never an option they just made it seem it was to make themselves look better.

  6. Yeah, a petro-chemical plant,….. nice. your children and their children can get sick and work there for many generations while they poison the air land and water so everyone can suffer with them. “Man has been on the earth for thousands of years and he has still not learned to fear the things that will destroy him.”, Erwin Brown

  7. The Super Kmart property near Robinson Mall was bought by Chevron, not Shell. They paid a huge premium to get Kmart out ASAP and demolish the building for phase one of an office park. These clowns from Shell will mess around for many more years before a single screw is turned. Shell needs a lesson from their competitor at Chevron.

  8. Nathan, Felecia, Kayla: the people you know are working for Horsehead, not Shell. The only thing they need to know is that the plant is closing. Why do you think that the company is obligated to inform them of any transactions with Shell? They have no say-so in this process.

  9. Erwin, you sound like another one of those poor, dumb bastards that does not understand a damn thing about industry and manufacturing. You dumb motherfuckers will try and halt this project, which would be one of the most positive economic events in Western PA in a long time.

      • How many of your parents and grandparents would like to see the steel or airline business back before all the cutbacks and shutdowns? Watch what you wish for, the high paying heath-care jobs will slowly disappear along with the older population. Hopefully everyone will be happy with all the shopping choices and dollar stores.

  10. Shell got another extension on their decision to build the cracker plant on this property. What gives? Probably will end up as a storage or compressor site as all the infrastructure projects are sucessfully shipping wet gas product to Philly.

  11. @Erwin…Petro Chemical vs Zinc (lead) plant. Have you ever looked at the hillsides near the plant and all the dead trees over the years. Have you every seen the gray dust all over the buildings, equipment and grounds. Do you really think the air, ground and water haven’t been affected all these years? At least the Shell plant will be built using 2014 technology.

    • If you look on Google Earth, Google Maps or on a state map and draw a line southeast from the proposed site, you will see the primary emissions trail, northwest to southeast, from the plant site, the direction of most of the prevailing winds. Some residents living in East Rochester, Monaca, Conway, Baden, and down through Edgeworth and Sewickley are directly in the path. One can hope that modern technology and construction will help decrease the emissions, even though they can’t be stopped entirely.

      • Some people are moving or are planning to move out of the downwind affected areas of the plant emissions because of possible health and property devaluation reasons. Perhaps someone from that area can comment here on the decision for doing so. They have in the past in related columns.

  12. Now remember I TOLD YOU,that these contracts were suppose to have been given to LOCAL CONTRACTORS not other countries and out of staters. It was a tri state thing here in the panhandle

  13. Before the demolition starts, there are buildings of historic significance on the property that deserve consideration. I’m referring to the former Beaver County Home and Hospital, also known as the county Poor House, which was in use from 1853-1959, when it was replaced by what is now Friendship Ridge.

    There should be an opportunity afforded historians and others to explore these buildings before they are demolished, much as other county and state hospital buildings have been documented, such as Mayview, Woodville, and Dixmont in Allegheny County. More information is available at http://ow.ly/s6rMv.

  14. This is all very exciting until the unions move in with their absurd demands, and Shell decides it’s better to go to a more progressive state with right-to-work laws.

    • You mean like Horsehead? They DO NOT want ANY of the workers that are currently employed there. Didn’t even offer them the option of moving with them. Hmmm…..

  15. Jaacee, you are as dumb as the idiots that live in these right to work states. A right to work state is a right to work for lower wages no health care and usually unsafe and uneducated. Do you really want a bunch of immigrants and Mexicants building this fine plant that could explode and kill you, or 10000 union construction workers with the knowledge know how. Educate yourself before you speak and sound stupid. And for the rest of you idiots this plant is going to save your county and a lot of struggling people in it. Your worried about pollution, look around you, why are you so worried now. If you don’t like it then just move your simple minded asses to a right to work state with Jaacee and go compete with the Mexicans and the rest of the sheep because it’s coming with you like it or not

  16. I am not involved in the energy nor chemical industry nor are any of my family members nor friends nor acquaintances. Having said that, I really hope that this plant gets built in our area. Beaver County needs business news that involves businesses of substancial size coming here rather than leaving here.

    To address some items items discussed above – I respect people’s rights to have a positive or negative opinion of the constuction and operation of this plant. However, regardless of your opinion, I am hoping that the opinion is derived from knowledge not from a basic, philosophical perspective.

    If you have a strong opinion one way or the other, ask yourself – Do you know what ethane cracking is? Do you know what the byproducts of cracking are? Do you know the planned disposal methods of these byproducts? Are you aware of the fact that this plant must be built under modern environmental constraints that are dictated and monitored by the EPA, PA DEP and the county? Do you know about the accidents at cracker plants and what the real results were of these accidents to workers and the surrounding area? Then for purposes of comparison, do you know the same information about zinc remediation?

    If the answer is “no” to any of these, you might want to have some knowledge to go along with your opinion. Should you choose to educate yourself, chances are you will use Google or similar. Be careful when doing this – there are websites out there that present themselves as news/information sites (for both sides) that distort facts. When checking, make sure you know the real source of the information and any bias that this organization might introduce to the information.

    I have spent over a quarter century working in heavy industry as an engineer. In some instances, my job responsibilities included ensuring that facilities were constructed in agreement with environmental regulations, plus ensuring that all reporting requirements were fulfilled. In this same timeframe, I have worked in over 20 countries. I found that the US requirements were at least as stringent as anywhere in the world and mostly much more stringent than almost all countries. For this reason, I am not concerned about this Shell plant, even in the rare instance that they have an environmental event or accident. The facility will be built in compliance and features will be included to minimize risk.

    As an aside – Dan really? Any job in a right-to-work state involves low pay, no health insurance, staffed by uneducated immigrants. Which plants have you been to? For my part, I spent +3 months in a steel plant in North Carolina several years back. It was a non-union plant largely staffed by guys that got out of the Navy that were based in the Newport News area. They found that their technical experience in the military transfered favorably to an industrial environment, and I found them to be sharper than the average I see in US plants. I think these guys would take issue with you saying that they are unsafe and uneducated – I’d enjoy watching you tell them that. In fact, OSHA regulations apply at these plants in addition to work rules and common sense. BTW – these guys told me their benefits were quite good and what I found (much to my surprise), their benefits were similar to mine, but their ouf of pocket costs were much lower than mine. Lastly Dan, go back and read your post. If it is true and you really believe it, you are admitting that there are workers out there willing to do a similar job with low pay, no benefits ,that are of low intellect. What does that say about the business environment created by the high-paid, well-benefited worker if they can do the same job to an economically viable level?

    Lastly, JP – I would absolutely love to see you do a responsible, balanced report on ethane cracking, the environmental risks and comparisons to what Horsehead’s plant has been doing over the years. You are the one source that I would trust for a report like that…

    • Right, no attemps at all in this country to weaken environmental standards nor workers pay and rights. Everything is just fine on those fronts and always has been with the corporations. History must have been written wrong.

    • @Beavernewbie: I agree with your call for a background report by someone. An op-Ed here would help for a clearer understanding. Impact studies have been published elsewhere, but not in a summarized, comprehensive, informed way. The BCT’s “Once upon a time…” storytelling approach fills white space, but it has been lean on facts.

  17. Beavernewbie, I’m sure there is someone out there that can do your job also for less, maybe not as well but less. Is that what you want for your country sir, mostly uneducated people doing your job for no benefits or very little and little pay. What does that say about you, am I wrong that I’m in a union where we make good money and for good reasons. I’ll tell you this most non union workers can do out job but not half as well and they deserve there low pay. I went to a five year apprenticeship to make what we do and the people that are wrong in this country are people like you that don’t want the working man to make a living. Could you live on 13 an hour, wouldn’t you want a better living. And your OSHA is a joke, I’ve worked in many areas also where you have low paid uneducated workers on site and they don’t follow any standards there unsafe to work around and to the contractor there basically expendable, before you comment sir do a little more research in “right to work” and where it’s going to take the working man trying to make a living, the owners if these companies will take from them as much as they can and if it doesn’t work they will hire joe blow off the side of the street and pay him 10 bucks an hour…educate yourself first before you comment, and no one needs you in beaver county anyhow

  18. It’s a shame people are complaining against building this plant, yet we aren’t saying much about building another Walmart and the local elected officials are patting themselves on the back for bringing the retail giant with low paying jobs to the area. Tell Shell to build it in West Virginia so that PA residents can drive there and work and West Va can reap all the benefits or you can always apply at the new Walmart in your own back yard.



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