Impact of proposed cracker plant on the region to be discussed April 4

SHARON, Pa. -- Penn State Shenango will host “An Evening in Conversation: The Impact of a Cracker Plant” from 6 to 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, April 4, in the campus auditorium located on Shenango Avenue in downtown Sharon, Pennsylvania. Dan Brockett, educator, Penn State Extension, will be the featured speaker at the event. Tom Page from WallacePancher Group (WPG), along with Brockett, will hold a discussion following the presentation, to discuss and take questions regarding the benefits of a cracker plant in our region. A networking opportunity with light refreshments will start at 5:30 p.m. The event is free and open to the public.

Brockett is a member of the Penn State Extension Shale Energy Education Team. He lectures and teaches on energy development from shale, the economics driving the process, the changing technology of drilling, the process and politics of fracking, and the associated impacts it has on communities, businesses, land, and families. He frequently provides education and training to industry, elected officials, businesses, and landowners across the country.

In June 2016, Shell announced that they would be building an ethane cracker plant in Beaver County. Ethane by volume is the second most prolific gas extracted from the Marcellus and Utica formations in the Appalachian Basin (over 400,000 barrels per day by some estimates). The proposed multi-billion dollar plant -- the first of its kind in the Northeast -- will convert some of the region’s ethane into ethylene, the building block for a wide variety of chemical products. The material sold from this facility will be polyethylene resin, which is a material extensively used to manufacture a wide range of products.

Brockett’s presentation will address some of the questions people are asking: What can we expect from this new plant and how will it help our region? Can we expect new manufacturing, expansion of existing industry, or supporting industry and service? Will this plant change the supply/demand balance in the basin? What are we missing in the region to make this work for all of us?

Brockett will also discuss how ethane is extracted, purified, transported, cracked and converted into plastic pellets. A brief conversation of the polyethylene market may give participants some ideas regarding the potential downstream impact.

“As a faculty member in Penn State Shenango’s Business and Project and Supply Chain Management programs (PSCM), I am very interested in hearing Dan speak about the effect that the Beaver County cracker plant will have on our area,” said Lisa Bertin, senior instructor in business and PSCM. “It will be a great teaching opportunity for our students to hear first-hand how shortening the supply chain will bring new business to our region and how it will spur existing businesses, in our particular area, which are so close to Interstate 376 and I-80.”

Page, who will also be the moderator of the evening’s event, was hired by WPG as the director – oil and gas, which is located at the company’s Southpointe Office in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania. Page has 29 years of experience with the environmental/engineering consulting and natural gas industries. He earned his bachelor of science degree in environmental resource management  from Penn State and a master of science degree in wildlife and fisheries resources from West Virginia University. Page formerly worked for Williams Companies, Inc. and served as the Natural Resources Subject Matter Expert. His role with WPG includes both expanding the company’s involvement with gas clientele and aquatic resource mitigation opportunities.

This event is being sponsored by Penn State Shenango’s Business and PSCM programs. PSCM is the campus’ newest baccalaureate degree program which concentrates on developing knowledge, skills and abilities in project management, and important discipline in modern corporations.

To register for the “An Evening in Conversation: The Impact of a Cracker Plant,” go to shenango.psu.edu/pscm_event. For more information about the Project and Supply Chain Management major at Penn State Shenango, contact Lisa Bertin at lrb19@psu.edu or call the Admissions office at 724-983-2803.

Last Updated March 20, 2017