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Shell exercises option on former Pennsylvania zinc plant that may become petrochemical plant

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MONACA, Pennsylvania — Shell Chemical LP has exercised its option to buy a former zinc plant in western Pennsylvania, which it hopes to convert to a petrochemical plant.

Horsehead Holding Corp., which owns the plant in Potter Township, Beaver County, announced the deal Friday. The company hopes Shell will close on the sale next year.

Shell hasn't formally committed to building the plant, which would convert ethane from Marcellus Shale natural gas liquids into chemicals used to make plastics, tires and even antifreeze.

Shell Chemical vice president Ate Visser tells the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette exercising the option "is a good decision" but doesn't mean Shell has made a final decision to build the plant.

Shell has said it may take years to decide whether to build the plant about 25 miles northwest of Pittsburgh.

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