Shell developing plans for worldscale ethylene plant in US

06 June 2011 17:19  [Source: ICIS news]

An ethylene crackerHOUSTON (ICIS)--Shell is developing plans for a worldscale ethylene plant with integrated derivative units in the Appalachian region of the US, to take advantage of the area’s Marcellus shale gas reserves, the Anglo-Dutch oil major said on Monday.

A location for the plant has not yet been decided, the company said.

“Building an ethane-fed cracker in Appalachia would unlock significant gas production in the Marcellus region by providing a local outlet for the ethane,” Shell Executive Vice President Chemicals, Ben van Beurden, said.

“This fits well with our strategy to strengthen our chemicals feedstock advantage and would be another step in growing our chemicals business to meet the increasing demand for petrochemicals.”

Shell said it is evaluating derivative choices, with polyethylene (PE) as the leading option but it did not identify a partner for development.

Most of the PE production would be used by northeastern US industries, it said.

“Demand for PE in North America is expected to grow, so the economic and efficiency benefits of a regional cracker make this configuration attractive,” the company added in a statement.

“With this investment, we would use feedstock from Marcellus to locally produce chemicals for the region and create more American jobs,” said president of Shell Oil Company, Marvin Odum. “As an integrated oil and gas company, we are best-placed in the area to do this.”

The Netherlands-based company did not disclose a time schedule for its plans, nor did it discuss potential investment amounts.

Nigel Davis contributed to this article

By: Brian Ford
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