Shell actively exploring Western Pa. cracker project
Royal Dutch Shell’s decision about whether to build a multibillion dollar ethane cracker in Beaver County could still be several years off, but the Associated Press has found that the company is actively taking steps to explore the site.
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Shell has an option to buy the industrial site in Monaca that’s now owned by Horsehead Corp. In an early November conference call, Horsehead CEO Jim Hensler said Shell continues to be “extremely active” at the site, with “about 70 people crawling all over” it recently.
Shell spokeswoman Kimberly Wendon told the AP in an email that “our evaluation of the site continues” and that the process “typically takes several years to complete.” Wendon added that the company expects a similar time frame in Monaca.
There also are other signs Shell is seriously considering the project.
Gulfport Energy Corp. said in early November that it signed a contract to provide Shell with raw natural gas for the project, if it gets built. And last month Chemical Week, an industry publication, reported that Shell has chosen two multinational engineering firms to do feasibility and pre-project planning. Executive Vice President Graham van’t Hoff told the publication that Bechtel Corp. and Linde AG of Germany would do the preliminary work.
Shell went out to bid for ethane to supply the proposed Beaver County plant over the summer and Governor Tom Corbett said in April he expects to know early next year whether Shell will build the plant.