It’s not clear whether Royal Dutch Shell would have taken this long to make a final decision to proceed on its ethane cracker had the oil price stayed at $100/barrel. Certainly, Shell and its competitors have been forced to downsize and reel in capital spending to remain profitable to the degree that shareholders demand. Lower profits were part of the reason that Chevron put its regional HQ project on hold and the price environment seems likely to have extended the decision-making process for the Monaca project; but has the decline in oil and natural gas hurt the Pittsburgh region in the way that Texas or North Dakota has been hurt?
Real estate service company CBRE Inc. published an energy market report Tuesday morning that covers this issue very well. Its conclusion is that Pittsburgh hasn’t been negatively impacted much at all, except to the degree that the exploration and expansion of the Marcellus and Utica formations has slowed.
You can read the full report here: CBRE Energy Report 2015_Pittsburgh