Breaking: Shell Pulls the Trigger, PA Ethane Cracker is a Go!

stoppress.jpgThis is the biggest of big news. We’ve been waiting for this day a LONG time. Earlier today Shell held a “Capital Markets Day” (in the Netherlands) and provided an extensive update on “reshaping” the company–for 2020 and beyond. As part of the update, hidden part of the way through their press release, we get this statement from Shell: “In Chemicals, the company already has brownfield growth projects underway on the US Gulf Coast and in China. Today we are announcing the final investment decision on a new, 1.5 million tonnes per annum (mtpa) cracker and polyethylene plant in Pennsylvania, USA, which will use natural gas from shales production as its feedstock. 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.” The implication is that the FID (final investment decision) is “yes, we’re building it” as evidenced by the phrase “once these projects are on stream…” MDN predicted it (see More Evidence that the Shell Ethane Cracker Plant in PA is a Go). You don’t spend half a billion (out of $2-$3 billion) and not move forward. Still, it’s fantastic to have Shell finally, after five years, say “Yes, we’re building it.” Another fascinating bit of news from today: Shell says shale will be very important to the future of the company, after 2020…

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