In June 2016, Shell took the final investment decision to construct a world-scale petrochemicals manufacturing plant near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA. The plant will consist of an ethylene cracker and three polyethylene derivatives units.
In November 2017, Shell completed an extensive site preparation program and the multi-billion-dollar project entered the main construction phase. Commercial production is estimated to begin sometime in the next couple of years.
The plant will use locally sourced ethane from the Marcellus and Utica basins to produce 1.6 million tonnes of polyethylene each year. Polyethylene is used in many everyday products, from food packaging and containers to automotive components. The facility is being built on the banks of the Ohio River in Potter Township, Beaver County, about 50 kilometers (30 miles) north-west of Pittsburgh.
The plant is strategically positioned close to both feedstock and the customer base. More than 70% of the North American industrial polyethylene demand originates in the North-East, within a 1,100 kilometer (700-mile) radius of Pittsburgh. The plant’s Pennsylvania location offers the customers a short, dependable supply chain.
The project’s scale is impressive with 300 miles of pipe, more than 1,600 items of manufactured equipment (the largest lift – 1,400 metric tons), and 294 pre-assembled modules. The construction workforce reached its peak in 2019 and into early 2020 with up to 8,500 workers on site, including more than 30 contracting companies. 600 permanent jobs will be created after the project is complete.