Processing Magazine

Shell ponders new ethane cracker in Pennsylvania

December 30, 2013

<photocredit>Photo copyright Shell</photocredit>

After giving up plans to build a new gas-to-liquid plant in Louisiana, Shell is considering buying additional land in Pennsylvania to construct a large petrochemical complex.

The site is owned by Horsehead Corp. and is located 35 miles north of Pittsburgh, next to a 5.5-acre plot of land that Shell bought last year from another company, the Associated Press reported. Horsehead stated that the deal with Shell included plans to knock down an existing zinc plant early next year.

In an email to the Associated Press, Shell spokeswoman Kimberly Windon confirmed there was a deal between the company and Horsehead, stating that demolition works of the existing facility will go ahead as a preparatory stage but stressed that Shell had not made its final decision on the project and that it was still considering the move.

RELATED: Shell drops plans for $20 billion gas-to-liquids plant in Louisiana

If the company eventually decides to implement its plans, the site will host an ethane cracking plant that will use ethane extracted from the Marcellus Shale, the Associated Press explained. The natural gas liquid will be converted into ethylene to produce plastics, tires and numerous other products.

Industry groups based in Pittsburgh are looking forward to the potential launch of the petrochemical complex. Dewitt Peart, president of the city's Regional Alliance, commented that the planned demolition was a major step towards making the new ethane cracking plant a reality. Shell estimated that the plant might create several hundred jobs, while construction itself could add a further 10,000 jobs.