Curtis Tate Published

Report: Predicted Ohio Valley Petrochemical Hub Never Materialized

A sprawling industrial facility emits various substances into the air on a cloudy winter day.
Shell's ethane cracker plant in Beaver County, Pennsylvania.
Reid Frazier/StateImpact Pennsylvania

A petrochemical manufacturing hub predicted six years ago in the mid-Ohio Valley didn’t materialize.

Proposals to build two ethane cracker plants – one in Wood County, West Virginia, and another in Belmont County, Ohio – have fizzled.

Cracker plants produce the building blocks of plastic products. In 2017, the chemical industry and the Trump administration predicted that the Ohio Valley, with its proximity to shale gas reserves, would become a hub for that process.

But according to a new report from the Ohio River Valley Institute, that hub never happened, nor did the 100,000 jobs it promised for the region.

Only one plant was built by Shell in Beaver County, Pennsylvania. It employs 400 to 600 people.

According to the report, competition from China and a build-out of petrochemical manufacturing on the Gulf Coast discouraged investment in the Ohio Valley hub.