Processing Magazine

Shell to Build Chemical Facility in Appalachia

June 7, 2011

According to the Charleston Daily Mail, oil and gas giant Royal Dutch Shell said it would build a world-scale chemical facility in Appalachia to take advantage of the region''s massive natural gas reserves. Shell did not say in which Appalachian state it would build the facility, known as a cracker. The company also did not say when the facility would be built. West Virginia officials have been scrambling to get a cracker in hopes it could rejuvenate the state''s ailing chemical industry. Crackers produce valuable byproducts from chemicals in natural gas that aren''t needed to heat homes, including ethane, a key ingredient in plastics. West Virginia and Pennsylvania are both home to large amounts of gas waiting to be extracted from the Marcellus shale. Crackers generally cost $1 billion or more to build and create both temporary construction jobs and lasting chemical industry jobs. State officials think the amount of Marcellus shale gas would be large enough to support more than one cracker in West Virginia.