MDN recently brought you rumors (evidence?) that the prospects of Shell building a multi-billion dollar ethane cracker plant in western Pennsylvania were seriously dimming (see Rumor Mill: PA Ethane Cracker Plant on Shell Chopping Block?). The most ominous two pieces of evidence against Shell moving forward was doubt cast by industry expert Rusty Braziel and the statements from Shell’s outgoing CEO Peter Voser who said that Shell would not be able to build all three major projects they now have on the books (one of the three being the PA cracker plant). Delays in committing to the project, negative speak from the CEO and numerous NGL and ethane pipelines coming online seem to cast doubt on Shell building the cracker.
But wait, what’s this? We have a new, happier rumor to share with you. According to a reliable source, Shell has hired Linde and Bechtel to perform front end engineering and design (FEED) work on the PA cracker plant! It seems to us if the cracker were truly dead Shell would not spend big bucks to design it (although we may be wrong on that score). Here’s the latest rumor courtesy Gas Business Briefing: