Royal Dutch Shell has given the go ahead for the company’s proposed multi-billion-dollar ethane cracker in Pennsylvania, company CEO Ben van Beurden said Tuesday during Shell’s capital markets day in London, Kallanish Energy reports.
Its subsidiary, Shell Chemical Appalachia, has made the final investment decision to build the major petrochemicals complex, roughly 30 miles northwest of Pittsburgh, in Beaver County.
The project, initially proposed in 2012, includes an ethane cracker with polyethylene derivatives units. Main construction will start in 18 months, with commercial production slated to begin early in the next decade.
The complex will use low-cost ethane from shale gas producers in the Marcellus and Utica Shale plays to produce 1.6 million tonnes of polyethylene annually (mtpa).
Van Beurden said he’s responding to the changing landscape by re-shaping Shell, with “chemicals and deep water now Shell’s growth priorities.” He said Shell already has brownfield growth projects underway on the U.S. Gulf Coast and in China.
“Once these projects are on stream, early in the next decade, Shell’s ethylene capacity should reach around 8 mtpa, compared with 6.2 mtpa today,” he added.
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