A Tour of Shell’s Massive Ethane Cracker Plant in SWPA

Although we haven’t (yet) had the pleasure of a tour at the massive Shell ethane cracker plant complex in Beaver County, PA (near Pittsburgh), we’ve spoken to others who have. Universally they say it is a marvel to behold. The world’s second largest crane, dubbed “the Mother of All Cranes” is on site, along with about 100 other cranes (no lie, at least 100 cranes). The site is teeming with thousands (yes thousands) of construction workers–some 5,000 right now, and will reach 6,000 by year’s end. But we’ve turned a corner. According to officials, most of the large structures have now been built and the work is shifting to connect them all. Come along with us for a video tour of the facility.
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Beaver County Wants to Keep Issuing Pipe Permits; $175K from Shell

Last week the Pennsylvania Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP) revoked the right of the Beaver County Conservation District (BCCD) to issue and monitor permits for erosion and sediment control, two permits used in building both pipelines and drill pads (see PA DEP Revokes Beaver County Right to Issue Pipe, Drilling Permits). Antis are now screaming for the DEP to suspend all pipeline work in the county for six months in order to review previously issued permits by BCCD (see Antis Want Pipeline Work in Beaver County Stopped for 6 Months). But the BCCD says the only thing they did wrong was misfile paperwork, that they should be allowed to resume issuing and overseeing erosion and sediment control permits.
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President Trump Visits Shell Cracker Plant Near Pittsburgh

Trump speech at Monaca, PA (credit: Philadelphia Inquirer)

President Trump visited the Shell ethane cracker plant site yesterday in Monaca, PA, along with Secretary of Energy Rick Perry and EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. Trump was greeted by a crowd of some 5,000 people, many (most?) of them workers at the site–union members. When was the last time you heard about 5,000 union members attending a rally for a Democrat?! But we digress. Trump toured the facility and delivered a rousing hour-plus speech to those gathered. There is no mistaking the fact that Donald Trump is a big supporter of the oil and gas and petrochemical industries.
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Trump Takes Credit for Shell Cracker Plant – Media Blows a Gasket

Democrats and the media (one and the same) are truly a conflicted, schizophrenic bunch. Both national and local Democrats who pretend to be unbiased journalists (what a joke) couldn’t wait to blast out headlines from yesterday’s visit by President Trump to Monaca, PA that Trump is falsely “taking credit” for the Shell ethane cracker, a plant that began life–at least planning stages–during the reign of their Lord and Savior Barack Hussein Obama. Yet in the next breath they write that this plant Trump is taking credit for will produce eeeeevil plastic that’s dooming all life on Mom Earth to extinction. They want credit for the plant, yet they don’t want the plant. What’s a lib Dem to do?
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800 “Insulators” Coming to Shell Ethane Cracker Site

Not this kind of insulator…

When we first read a headline about 800 “insulators” coming to the Shell ethane cracker in Monaca, PA, we immediately thought it meant some sort of electrical component–you know, the things you see along electric lines near poles? But no, the article was not about electric insulators, but about *people* call insulators–members of the International Association of Heat and Frost Insulators and Allied Workers union.
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Steubenville, OH in the Catbird Seat – Between Two Crackers

Location of Steubenville, halfway between Monaca, PA and Dilles Bottom, OH

Several weeks ago MDN editor Jim Willis attended the 2019 Northeast Petrochemical Conference and Expo in Pittsburgh. A major reason for attending such events is to connect with others in the industry. On this trip, Jim had the pleasure of meeting and talking with Bryce Custer, business director for global commercial real estate company NAI’s Ohio River Corridor division. Bryce’s job is to find real estate for companies in places where maybe real estate isn’t (yet) for sale. Companies like manufacturers who want to locate near the Shell and (soon, hopefully) PTT ethane cracker facilities–looking to locate in the Ohio River Valley. Bryce helps them find suitable locations. Bryce recently spoke to the Steubenville Revitalization Group and had an interesting observation about Steubenville’s geography.
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Shell’s Falcon Ethane Pipe – Building a Pipeline the Right Way

The Falcon ethane pipeline being built by Shell in western Pennsylvania and eastern Ohio is unique in many ways. Falcon is a 97-mile, two-legged pipeline system to carry ethane to the mighty Shell cracker plant now under construction in Beaver County, PA (near Pittsburgh). We spotted an article about the pipeline and its construction. According to a local conservation office in Beaver County, pipeline construction “hasn’t even affected us [wildlife] a bit,” thanks to careful planning by Shell. A pipeline everybody loves? Is that even possible?!
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AECOM Wins Contract to Service Shell Cracker Plant

Bechtel, a huge multi-national engineering firm, is the company building the mighty Shell ethane cracker in Monaca, PA. Shell won’t divulge when they think the cracker will be up and running (still a year or more away), but in what we consider a very good sign that the cracker will be operating sooner rather than later, Shell has just awarded another huge multi-national engineering firm, AECOM, the contract to maintain all the machinery at the cracker plant once it’s built and running.
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Two Possible Paths for PA’s Energy Future in 25 Years

What will Pennsylvania’s future with respect to energy look like 25 years from now? What role will shale gas play? And how will that role affect the state? A group of 35 people began to study that question in the summer of 2017 and the end result, a new study, has just been released (full copy below). According to the study’s results, there are two distinct paths PA can take, resulting in two very different outcomes.
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Shell Sells NWPA Assets, Possibly Tioga County Assets Too

MDN recently received a hot tip from a reader that says Shell (i.e. SWEPI) may have recently sold its Tioga County, PA assets in northcentral PA. Yesterday, Pin Oak Energy issued a press release to say they have cut a deal to buy Shell’s northwestern PA assets, some 43,000 acres in the Utica. Which all feeds into the rumor we shared with you last November that Shell is pulling out of PA drilling (see Is Shell Pulling Out of Pennsylvania Marcellus?).

4/9/19: See important update below provide by Shell
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Fed Judge Reverses Class Action in PA Landowner Lawsuit v. Shell

A notable development in a lawsuit that before now, we were unaware of. Several landowners in Venango County (northwest PA) filed a lawsuit against Shell’s SWEPI drilling subsidiary in 2013 claiming SWEPI had stiffed them out of lease bonus payments due under duly signed lease contracts. The landowners attempted to turn the lawsuit into a class action, claiming the same thing had happened for about 300 leases in the area. A federal judge has just ruled against converting the lawsuit into a class action.
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Imported Steel for Shell Ethane Pipeline Shows Up at Philly Port

Shell pipes being unloaded – click for larger version

All 97 miles of imported steel pipeline that will be used to construct Shell’s Falcon ethane pipeline project was offloaded at a Philadelphia port last month (10,996 pipes!), and is now loaded on trucks and on the way to the Pittsburgh region (some may have already arrived).
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Shell Plans to be World’s Biggest Electric Producer, Using NatGas

Here’s a mind-blower: Royal Dutch Shell is the world’s second largest oil producer (by market value). Yet a Shell official recently said his company wants to be “the largest electricity power company in the world in the early 2030s.” Within 15 years Shell wants to be THE world’s #1 electricity producer! And they plan to do it by using natural gas as the fuel to create all that electricity.
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Family of Worker Killed at Tioga County, PA Well Pad Sues Shell

On the morning of October 27, Marc Jones, an employee of Deep Well Services, was working at a Shell well pad in Tioga County, PA when “a large piece of equipment fell on him, pinning him to the platform 65 feet in the air where he was standing” (see Accident Kills Rig Worker on Shell Well Pad in Tioga County, PA). The blunt force trauma, hitting him in the head, killed him.
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MDN Featured in PublicSource Story re Shell’s PA Cracker

More than a month ago MDN editor Jim Willis was contacted by PublicSource, an independent non-profit news organization based in Pittsburgh. A reporter wanted to know if Jim would grant an interview as part of a story he was doing on the Shell cracker, pipelines and the petchem industry in southwest Pennsylvania. Jim said yes.
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