Shell Files for Waiver to Restart PA Cracker Work w/Fewer Workers

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf, like governors in neighboring states hit hard by the COVID-19 coronavirus, has elected to shut down all non-essential (called non-life-sustaining) businesses in the state until further notice to prevent the spread of the virus. The state issued a comprehensive list of which kinds of businesses could, and could not, continue working during the shutdown. Some 35,000 businesses on the non-life-sustaining list have requested a waiver from the state Dept. of Community and Economic Development (DCED). The DCED has so far granted 5,693 waivers, denied 8,952 requests, and ruled another 8,365 do not require a waiver because they fit the life-sustaining definition outlined in the shutdown order.
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Shell Pulls Out of Lake Charles LNG Project, Energy Transfer Stays

Is this the beginning of a pullback from LNG project? Scared of the impacts of the coronavirus and the price of oil crashing, Royal Dutch Shell is pulling out of a 50/50 joint venture partnership with Energy Transfer (ET) to build a new LNG export facility in Lake Charles, Louisiana. In corporate speak, Shell says, “This decision is consistent with the initiatives we announced last week to preserve cash and reinforce the resilience of our business,” and “the time is not right for Shell to invest.” Translation: We’re scared. And who can blame them? All of a sudden there are LNG cargoes sailing the oceans with no place to unload (see LNG Cargoes All Dressed Up with Nowhere to Go).
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Will Shell Cracker Construction Delay Affect Ohio Cracker Timing?

Nearly two weeks ago Shell, at the prompting of local officials, shut down construction of the mighty ethane cracker plant the company is building in Beaver County, PA (see Shell Shuts Down SWPA Cracker Plant Construction re COVID-19). How long will construction be stopped? According to a Shell spokesman, “I have no timeline for a return at this time.” What if the work stoppage drags on for months? It could, potentially, have a domino effect on another nearby cracker project–across the river in Belmont County, Ohio.
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Shell Ethane Pipe Construction in SWPA Allowed to Restart

Here’s a rum’un (Brit speak meaning “strange” or “odd”) if ever we’ve heard of one. Shell shut down construction activity a week ago at its mighty ethane cracker plant site in Beaver County, PA, sending nearly 8,000 people home (see Shell Shuts Down SWPA Cracker Plant Construction re COVID-19). There are still several hundred people on location to secure things and ensure no mischief is made while the other workers are away. However, work on Shell’s Falcon pipeline project, the pipeline that will feed ethane to the (now quarantined) plant, is allowed to continue as “life-sustaining” work under PA Gov. Tom Wolf’s order closing some businesses but keeping others open.
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Shell Shuts Down SWPA Cracker Plant Construction re COVID-19

Yesterday MDN told you that Shell had not (yet) closed down construction of the mighty ethane cracker plant they are building in Beaver County, PA (see COVID-19: Shell Keeps SWPA Cracker Construction Site Open). After a confirmed case of COVID-19 coronavirus in the county, the Board of Commissioners asked Shell yesterday to shut down the site for now. Within a few hours Shell did just that, sending home some 8,000 workers. The work stoppage will last from a few days to a few weeks.
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COVID-19: Shell Keeps SWPA Cracker Construction Site Open

We’d hate to be a big employer right now–like Shell–with all of the COVID-19 coronavirus issues swirling. Shell currently employs some 6,500 construction workers at its Monaca (Beaver County), PA ethane cracker plant site. That’s 6,500 workers coming and going each and every day. Many of them have to get to the job site via a shuttle bus after parking in huge parking lots near the site. Cramped, crowded conditions at a time when the government recommends “social distancing” (who wants to bet that’s the phrase of the year for Merriam-Webster?). Some are criticizing Shell for not shutting down construction. It’s a no-win situation. Shut it down and throw 6,500 people out of work for a month or two or three? Keep working and risk spreading the virus? No good options.
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“Mammoth” Shell Cracker Currently Employs 7,500 Daily – An Update

Credit: Youngstown Business Journal (click for larger version)

Activity in building the mighty Shell ethane cracker in Monaca, PA (Beaver County) has reached a fevered pitch. Its apex. Its zenith. Currently, there are some 7,500 workers who visit and work at the site on a daily basis. Can you imagine?! That’s like a small town coming and going each and every day. There are some 1,000 workers who work all through the night! We’re still a year or two away from the beginning of operations at the plant, but all of the key structures are now in place and the work has shifted to connecting everything. Here’s an update on this massive, jobs-producing economic bonanza happening in southwestern PA…
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Penn State Peddles PIE in the Sky – Takes Swipe at Shell Cracker

Increasingly Penn State is taking swipes at the Marcellus Shale industry that has so richly blessed the state–and has blessed Penn State and its various educational programs. It’s really disappointing. The latest attempt is something called PIE–or political industrial ecology. It’s a made-up academic term that means judging an economic miracle like the Shell cracker through the lens of leftist political dogma. Essentially a Penn State researcher tries to find people who don’t like the cracker and give them “a voice.” Apparently they misplaced their own voice.
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Shell Annual Outlook Says LNG Demand to Double by 2040

Royal Dutch Shell, one of the world’s supermajors (oil and gas driller), is, in fact, one of (perhaps THE) largest producer of LNG, or liquefied natural gas, in the world. The company has just released its fourth annual LNG Outlook 2020 (full copy below) which highlights key trends in 2019 and hauls out the crystal ball to predict where things are heading over the next 20 years. Shell says global demand for LNG is expected to double to 700 million tonnes by 2040. Why? Because natgas emits less carbon dioxide into the atmosphere than other alternatives.
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Non-U.S. Big Oil Companies Want EPA to Regulate Methane Emissions

Here’s something that really¬†bugs us. The Donald J. Trump Administration is doing its best to try and roll back some of the smothering overregulation foisted on the oil and gas industry during the Obama reign of terror. Example: The EPA is looking to reverse direct regulation of oil and gas methane (created by Obama) because the EPA already regulates methane emissions via regulations for volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Yet a few oil “majors” (biggest oil companies in the world) want the EPA to continue its onerous methane regulations. Thing is, the oil majors that want this insane overregulation are NOT American-based companies.
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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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