By Sharon O. Flanery and L. Gil White
Shell Chemical LP (Shell) announced today that it has selected a site to evaluate in Potter and Center Townships in Beaver County near Monaca, PA for its ethane cracker facility. Sites in West Virginia, Pennsylvania and Ohio were considered, and officials from each state did their best to sway Shell's decision in their favor. A cracker facility will mean new jobs for the ever-growing shale production industry in Appalachia and a boon for the businesses that help support it.
According to a Shell news release, this positive development marks another phase as Shell continues to assess the commercial feasibility of a petrochemical complex in the Appalachian region. The next steps for this project include additional environmental analysis of the preferred Pennsylvania site, further engineering design studies, assessment of the local ethane supply, and continued evaluation of the economic viability of the project.
Shell looked at various factors to select the preferred site, including good access to liquids-rich natural gas resources, water, road and rail transportation infrastructure, power grids, economics, and sufficient acreage to accommodate facilities for a world-scale petrochemical complex and potential future expansions.In addition to an ethane cracker, Shell is also considering polyethylene (PE) and mono-ethylene glycol (MEG) units to help meet increasing demands in the North American market. Much of the PE and MEG production would be used by industries in the northeast.West Virginia and Ohio officials are optimistic that their states could be home to ethane processing facilities in the future.
Sharon O. Flanery concentrates her practice in the areas of energy and natural resources law and leads the firm's Energy Team.
L. Gil White is a former 14-year elected member of the West Virginia State Legislature as well as a former political liaison to Gov. Manchin.
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