Shell CEO Says PA Cracker Up & Running “Not Anymore This Decade”

Shell CEO Ben van Beurden

In June 2016, MDN was one of the first to unearth the announcement by Shell, almost hidden away inside another announcement, that the company had made it’s “final investment decision” (FID) to move forward with building a multi-billion dollar ethane cracker in Beaver County, PA (see Breaking: Shell Pulls the Trigger, PA Ethane Cracker is a Go!). At the time of the announcement, and since then, Shell has been cagey in not pegging any specific date for when they predict the plant will be built and online–although they have said the plant would start to contribute cash to Shell’s bottom line “after 2020.” That’s about all we’ve been able to find about timing for the plant–until now. Shell released their fourth quarter and full year update yesterday, and as part of that update, held a conference call with analysts. On the call, Shell CEO Ben van Beurden said, in response to a question from an analyst, that Shell will begin spending big money to build the plant “by the end of the year [meaning this year], certainly in 2018.” van Beurden also said, “We haven’t announced exactly when it will start up, but expect that to be not anymore this decade.” He’s not a native English speaker, so we’re having a tough time figuring out exactly what he meant. Does he mean the cracker will be running “not anymore *than* this decade” (meaning before 2020), or “not anymore *in* this decade” (meaning it is now pushed out after 2020). You’re guess is as good as ours…

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