MONACA, Pa. (WKBN) – Production has begun at a massive chemical plant in the area.

Shell announced Tuesday that the Shell Polymers Monaca, which is bounded by Interstate 376 and the Ohio River in Beaver County, is online and putting out product.

It’s the first major polyethylene manufacturing complex in the Northeastern United States. Its goal is to put out 3.5 billion pounds a year of plastic pellets that will be used in everything from food packaging to piping.

The plant takes ethane extracted from natural gas drilling and pumped from processing plants in Cadiz, Ohio, and Washington, County, Pa., and converts it to ethylene in a process known as “cracking.”

Construction on the $6 billion facility began in April 2017 and provides 600 full-time jobs.

During a tour of the construction phase of the plant with 27 WKBN First News, Congressman Bill Johnson said that plastics and textile manufacturers are going to be looking for ways to come to this region because of the proximity of the plant to what they need in raw materials.

Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) Acting Secretary Neil Weaver said Tuesday, echoing Gov. Wolf’s remarks, that the plant is a “game-changer.”

“He’s absolutely right. (Wolf). This plant is the first its kind in the northeast and represents one of the biggest investments by a company in Pennsylvania since World War II. I’m thrilled to see the day has arrived and operations have commenced – this project is really going to bolster the economy in western Pennsylvania,” Weaver said.