Shell had done a phenomenal managing the restrictions brought by the COVID-19. We are fortunate to have Shell’s commitment to the Appalachian Basin.
Within the last eight weeks, Shell Pennsylvania Chemicals has welcomed roughly 2,500 workers back to its massive ethane cracker complex in Beaver County, Pennsylvania, Shale Directories reports.
And, since the coronavirus pandemic caused all work to shut down and 7,800 of 8,000 workers were sent home on March 18, four workers have tested positive for the Covid-19 virus.
Since the week of May 4, through the current week of June 22, the Royal Dutch Shell unit has reintroduced approximately 300 workers to the site weekly except for one week when no workers were brought back.
“As of the current week of June 22, we have approximately 3,000 workers onsite,” Shell Pennsylvania Chemicals spokesman Michael Marr told Shale Directories.
Marr said Shell and its project general superintendent, Bechtel, have embedded protocols in each worker’s duties which have facilitated adherence to social distancing guidelines provided by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Pennsylvania Department of Health.
Procedures established to keep workers safe include temperature screening before coming onsite, along with lunchroom protocols that allow workers to maintain social distancing by having one worker eat at each side of a table, with a plexiglass divider between the table’s two sides.
“We will continue to take the evolving situation week by week and will be adaptable in future weeks as conditions and guidelines change,” Marr told Shale Directories.
Marr said on Friday, June 19, one of the cracker site’s workers tested positive for Covid – bringing the total number of positive tests to four since the pandemic began. Two cases were determined in March, and the third case was found in April.
“The worker in question has not been onsite since Friday, June 12,” according to Marr. “Our contact tracing and follow-up process did not identify anyone else who would be required to leave the site or self-isolate, in accordance with the CDC guidelines.”
To protect the privacy of the worker, Marr said no other details will be made available.
Asked for what percentage of the complex has been completed, Marr told Shale Directories Shell has never released such a number, instead preferring to note major milestones.
“Prior to the Covid-19 temporary suspension of construction (on March 18), we were at peak in terms of our workforce, and the site had transitioned from erecting the large structures into a phase in which we were connecting the various pieces via piping and electrical scope,” Marr said.
Shell is building an ethane cracker, three polyethylene units, a natural gas-fired power plant and other facilities on the 386-acre site, where ethane extracted from the Marcellus and Utica Shale plays will be converted into plastic pellets.
The company had shut down the roughly $6 billion project a few days before Gov. Wolf ordered nonessential businesses to shut down in mid-March.
For roughly two weeks, some 300 workers still reported to work at the site for repair and maintenance duties and for cleaning and disinfecting.
We will continue to monitor the progress of the Shell cracker plant and provide you with relevant updates.