Pennsylvania is the second-largest producer of natural gas in the country - with production up more than 2,400% between 2005-2014 - but our natural gas market extends beyond production. Natural gas usage fits into many aspects of our economy, including heat, power, downstream manufacturing, and electricity generation. Other natural gas uses, such as compressed natural gas, offer inexpensive transportation fuel to companies who locate in the state. With Royal Dutch Shell’s planned ethylene plant and a local, reliable, and inexpensive source of feedstock, plastics products manufacturing stands to grow exponentially.
Shell Said Yes to PA.
On June 7, 2016, Royal Dutch Shell made the announcement to build a major chemical plant in Beaver County, located in western Pennsylvania. This monumental project has been four years in the making, and is the result of the collective efforts between the Governor’s Action Team and two administrations working with Shell to reach the final decision. This game-changing plant will create thousands of jobs in Pennsylvania while expanding and creating market opportunities for downstream manufacturing and job creation.
Why did Shell choose PA?
It’s been well-documented that Shell chose Pennsylvania due to three critical factors: abundant natural gas resources, proximity to 70 percent of their North American customers, and the collaborative teamwork between state, regional, and local entities to secure this investment. Pennsylvania’s abundant natural gas supplies will create a shorter and more reliable supply chain than those with comparable facilities on the U.S. Gulf Coast.
Game-changer for Downstream Manufacturing
The new plant will produce plastics ethylene feedstock from extracted PA natural gas, creating a massive opportunity for in-state businesses that would benefit from a local, reliable, and inexpensive source of natural gas byproducts for their production and services. Proximity to Shell’s facility — which has employment projections of up to 6,000 during peak construction and a commitment of 600 full-time positions in the future — will translate to shorter and more dependable supply chains compared to supply from other regions, and will expedite a growing downstream manufacturing hub within 500 miles of 6 of the U.S.’s 10 largest consumer markets.
This project will enable Pennsylvania to shift from a national producer and exporter to one with comprehensive downstream capabilities as well, solidifying Pennsylvania’s position as “The Energy State.”
The Department of Community and Economic Development’s Secretary Dennis Davin hosted a series of roundtable discussions with state and community leaders and business representatives to discuss how communities can leverage potential investments and development opportunities related to Royal Dutch Shell’s decision to build a new ethane cracker plant. These roundtables take a long-term look at the cracker plant’s potential economic impact in the state.
A world-class workforce begins with a world-class education, and in Pennsylvania, we have both. In a rapidly-evolving industry such as advanced manufacturing, we want to make sure our workforce has access to programs that enable them to update and expand their skills to stay on top of new demands in the field. Top-notch, customizable workforce training ensures our graduates are prepared for multiple industries and are able to grow with the industries in which they work.
Natural Gas Employment
As of the third quarter of 2015, there were an estimated 72,133 people in Pennsylvania employed either in natural gas extraction development, by suppliers to the industry, or at companies that provide goods and services to the industry’s employees. Direct employment in natural gas development grew from 9,659 to 28,112 over the past eight years of the Marcellus boom, an increase of 18,452. This increase in direct employment led to an additional estimated 10,626 jobs at suppliers and 15,616 jobs at companies that provide goods and services to the industry’s employees. (L&I 2016)
Workforce Training Resources
Eligible in-state businesses and out-of-state companies relocating to PA can apply to WEDNetPA to access training funds, which can be used for a wide range of training, from welding and quality assurance to software engineering and advanced manufacturing technology, and more.
ShaleNET is a job training program that leverages the collective experience of industry, the public workforce system, and its consortium colleges to help individuals build lasting careers in the oil and natural gas industry. It concentrates on developing a highly skilled workforce to fill the gaps in upstream, midstream, and downstream energy jobs using a stackable credential model with one-year certificate programs and two-year Associate Degree programs.
The Shale Training & Education Center (ShaleTEC) is a collaborative effort between the Pennsylvania College of Technology and the Penn State Extension that serves as the central resource for workforce development and education needs of the community and natural gas industry. Based in Williamsport, PA, ShaleTEC offers programs such as:
- workforce needs assessment
- customized training
- industry-specific training
- new technology development
- on-site training
Companies in PA
Pennsylvania’s natural gas industry currently comprises more than 72,133 people that are employed in either natural gas extraction development, by suppliers to the industry or at companies that provide goods and services to the industry. With natural gas production continuing to rise, the industry is poised for continue growth in the state.
Top 6 Energy Employers
Resources & Funding
Pennsylvania has an unprecedented opportunity to drive a real energy renaissance — and to capture the broader benefits to our economy and communities that go with it. To learn more about the energy programs offered by the PA Department of Community & Economic Development (DCED), please visit dced.pa.gov/programs
The Alternative and Clean Energy Program (ACE) provides financial assistance in the form of grant and loan funds that will be used by eligible applicants for the utilization, development, and construction of alternative and clean energy projects, infrastructure associated with compressed natural gas and liquefied natural gas fueling stations, plus energy efficiency and energy conservation projects in the state.
Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Resources
DEP has dozens of grants and loans, as well as rebates, to assist individuals, groups and businesses with a host of environmental issues. To learn more, view a list of available grants, loans and rebates, a description of each program, links to applications and eligibility information below.
Pipeline Investment Program (PIPE)
The Pipeline Investment Program (PIPE) provides grants to construct the last few miles of natural gas distribution lines to business parks, existing manufacturing and industrial enterprises, which will result in the creation of new economic base jobs in the commonwealth while providing access to natural gas for residents.