Shell PA Cracker Plant Project a Lot Bigger Than First Thought

Artist's rendering of Shell Monaca Ethane Complex
Artist’s rendering of Shell Monaca Ethane Complex – click for larger version

Yesterday MDN was one of the first to bring you the fantastic news that Shell has decided to move forward with building their multi-billion dollar ethane cracker plant (see Breaking: Shell Pulls the Trigger, PA Ethane Cracker is a Go!). Shell mentioned their positive final investment decision (FID) as part of a larger, wide-ranging announcement on their plans for the next few years and beyond. They were slow off the mark, but Shell finally issued a separate press release about the FID for the Monaca, PA ethane cracker plant complex. As usually happens with a story this big, more details have come out after the initial announcement. For example: Shell’s initial estimate for the cost of the project, more than four years ago, was “$2-$3 billion.” Now? They won’t say. But some news sources are reporting it will be closer to a $6 billion investment. One even goes as high as $11 billion! What Shell *is* saying is that construction on the main part of the facility will begin in 18 months, with production expected to flow beginning “early in the next decade”–which we take to mean sometime around 2020 or 2021. Shell says the project will provide work for 6,000 temporary construction workers while it’s being built, and 600 permanent, full-time employees to operate the facility once it is built. Needless to say, local economic and government leaders in the Pittsburgh region are ecstatic with the news. Here’s more details about the Shell ethane cracker coming to PA, along with select reaction and comments…

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