LONDON (ICIS)--Shell is expecting to begin main site construction on its flagship new US petrochemicals complex in Pennsylvania before the end of the year, the Netherlands-headquartered oil and gas firm said on Thursday, following the award of permits from the local township in January.
Site preparations are currently in progress for the complex, which is expected to utilise shale ethane from the Utica and Marcellus shale plays to produce 1.6m tonnes/year of polyethylene (PE), with production slated to begin in the early 2020s, the company said.
Relocation of an existing Pennsylvania state highway has been completed and interchanges added to facilitate the movement of trucks during the main construction phase, along with the removal of pre-existing foundations and the installation of steel pilings.
Concrete-laying work to complete the foundations began in March, the company added.
Two river docks have also been constructed to allow for the delivery of large equipment by barge.
When the project was first announced in June 2016, Shell said that the complex will consist of a 1.5m tonne/year cracker and three PE units. Permits from the supervisory board of Potter township, Pennsylvania, were won in mid-January this year. The complex is expected to employ 600 people in permanent roles.
The complex is the latest large-scale polymer project to be developed in the US, capitalising on the ready availability of cheap shale gas feedstocks.
Total announced late last month that it is to develop a PE facility on the US Gulf Coast with Austria’s Borealis and Canada’s NOVA Chemicals. A final decision on the PE project is to be taken when the joint venture is formally established in late 2017.Shell is expecting construction on its Pennsylvania Petrochemicals Complex to begin in late 2017. Above, a construction vehicle is loading material on and off a dock.