Dow Disingenously Tells Shell to Forget About a PA Cracker Plant

Manufacturing and labor leaders held a confab yesterday in Pittsburgh to discuss jobs, the economy, and how the Marcellus is lifting both in southwestern Pennsylvania (see our companion story today). One of the speakers at yesterday’s meeting was Peter Molinaro, vice president and senior advisor on government affairs for The Dow Chemical Co. One of Dow Chemical’s chief rivals and competitors is Shell Chemical. Shell, as MDN readers are well aware, is currently conducting a multi-year evaluation of whether or not to build a regional ethane cracker plant in Beaver County, PA, outside Pittsburgh about 30 miles.

It probably won’t surprise you that Dow’s Molinaro said at yesterday’s meeting that PA probably doesn’t need a cracker plant after all. Are Molinaro’s comments about a PA cracker wise and measured counsel from an industry participant who has a feel for the economics of U.S. manufacturing and what it truly needs? Or are his comments trash-talking a competitor in hopes of scuttling a deal and eliminating competition so more ethane will be pipelined to the Gulf–where Dow’s cracker plants are located? You decide…

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