Shell to build new petrochemicals complex in Pennsylvania, US


Shell Chemical Appalachia is planning to build a new petrochemical complex, including an ethylene cracker and polyethylene derivatives unit, near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, US.

Construction of the project is expected to begin in around 18 months, with commercial production planned to start early next decade.

The proposed complex will use low-priced ethane from shale gas producers based in the Marcellus and Utica basins to produce 1.6 million tonnes of polyethylene per year.

Currently, polyethylene is used in various products such as food packaging, containers and automotive components.

Royal Dutch Shell global chemicals business executive vice president Graham van't Hoff said: "Shell Chemicals has recently announced final investment decisions to expand alpha olefins production at our Geismar site in Louisiana and, with our partner CNOOC in China, to add a world-scale ethylene cracker with derivative units to our existing complex there.

"This third announcement demonstrates the growth of Shell in chemicals and strengthens our competitive advantage."

To be built on the banks of the Ohio River in Potter Township, Beaver County, near Pittsburgh, the complex will be located in close proximity to gas feedstock and its customers.

The project will witness up to 6,000 construction workers during the construction phase and an expected to add 600 permanent employees when completed.

"This third announcement demonstrates the growth of Shell in chemicals."

Currently, Shell Chemicals produces more than 500,000t polyethylene per annum through the CSPC Nanhai petrochemicals joint venture in China and sells more than 17 million metric tonnes of petrochemicals a year.

The company owns and operates three petrochemical facilities in the US at Deer Park, Texas, Norco and Geismar, Louisiana, and additional Chemicals manufacturing plants in Scotford and Sarnia.

Recently, Shell announced to expand the capacity of its CSPC Nanhai petrochemicals joint venture in China.

Under the expansion, CSPC will take over CNOOC's ongoing project to build more chemical facilities next to CSPC's petrochemical complex.

CNOOC is Shell's partner in the Chinese joint venture.

Image: The new petrochemical complex will include an ethylene cracker and polyethylene derivatives unit. Photo: courtesy of Shell.