Beyond cheap electricity, Ohio is looking to shale gas to rebuild its manufacturing base. Already, Shell is building a $6 billion ethane “cracker” along the Ohio River that will produce raw material for polyethylene, which goes into plastics.
There are 12,000 manufacturers within 600 miles of the new plant that use plastics and don’t have access to a local supply of polyethylene.
Ethane crackers like the one Shell is building on the Ohio River in Beaver County, Ohio, close the loop between gas wells and plastics manufacturers.
Already, more than 75,000 people in Ohio are employed in the plastics industry, second only to California, according to the Plastics Industry Coalition.
With a decision expected soon about construction of a second, $10 billion ethane cracker along the Ohio River, local officials are optimistic: “They’re good paying jobs, those jobs will elevate the economic environment for our community. We all get lifted by a rising tide,” says Ray Hexamer, president of the Stark County Economic Development Board.
For more information on how shale gas is transforming Ohio’s economy, visit WOSU.