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Shell: ‘Good progress’ being made on ethane cracker

Paul J. GoughApr 6, 2017, 4:51pm EDT

Shell Chemical Appalachia LLC on Thursday said good progress was being made ahead of main construction later this year on the $6 billion petrochemical complex in Potter Township.

When the company, owned by multinational Royal Dutch Shell, announced the final investment decision in June 2016, Shell had said that construction would begin sometime within the next 18 months for what is expected to be a multiyear time frame employing 6,000 construction and other workers. That would take Shell to the end of 2017 to start construction.

Commercial production of the plastics, which will be done by processing ethane from the Marcellus and Utica shales, will begin sometime in the early part of the next decade. There wasn’t any change to that time line apparent in the latest Shell release.

A great deal of site preparation work has already been done at the site, along the Ohio River near Interstate 376 in Potter Township, on the former Horsehead Holding Corp. zinc smelting plant. The site is unrecognizable to what it was even a few years ago, with mountains of dirt relocated and the area reshaped along with a state highway moved and a parking garage and other structures already built. Two docks on the Ohio River have been completed to land construction equipment that will come by barge. Environmental remediation has also been done.

“This project is a great investment for a key part of the U.S.A. Our site preparation and detailed design and engineering work has been progressing safely, efficiently and to the highest standards of engineering,” said Royal Dutch Shell Executive Vice President Graham van’t Hoff in a statement released by Shell Chemical Appalachia on Thursday afternoon.

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Paul J. Gough is digital producer at the Pittsburgh Business Times, handles social media, and writes about breaking news. Contact him at [email protected]or 412-208-3827. You can also follow him on Twitter.

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