Business report

Shell opens major polyethylene manufacturing complex in Pennsylvania

Credit: Shell

Shell Chemical Appalachia, a subsidiary of Shell plc, this week opened the first major polyethylene manufacturing complex in the northeastern United States in Monaca, Pennsylvania.

The facility, called Shell Polymers Monaca (SPM), began operations Tuesday at its Monaca site, next to the Ohio River in Beaver County. Construction of the facility began in April 2017.

The plant – which is expected to reach full production by the second half of 2023 – will have three reactors, including two gas-phase reactors and one slurry reactor. It will produce 3.5 billion pounds, or 1.6 million tonnes, of polyethylene on an annual basis.

The products it manufactures will serve customers who manufacture basic and specialty films, pipes, blow molded containers and injection molded parts. The plant is strategically located within 700 miles of 70% of the US polyethylene market.

SPM has contracted most of its natural gas feedstock from the nearby Utica and Marcellus basins. Proximity provides production advantages, but it also provides customers with shorter supply chains. This results in increased flexibility and access to polyethylene pellets which can be used in a wide variety of products such as common household items, consumer and food packaging, as well as industrial and utility products.

“Building this world-class facility is a fantastic achievement that the team can be proud of; it is a showcase of Shell’s expertise in project delivery,” said Huibert Vigeveno, Shell’s downstream director. “With excellent market access, innovative offerings and a connected infrastructure, Shell Polymers Monaca is well positioned and ready to serve its customers with competitive, high quality products.”

Shell Polymers Monaca will support 600 full-time positions and several thousand more from private industry and utilities required for support.

“This is a historic day for Pennsylvania and an important case study in how competitive, energy-friendly employment policies can create sustained economic growth for the Commonwealth and our nation,” the president said. from the Marcellus Shale Coalition, David Callahan. “Built by thousands of our talented partners and regional construction trades workers, Shell’s world-class manufacturing plant improves our quality of life by transforming natural gas liquids into building blocks for essential consumer goods. and medical supplies. »

The facility represents a significant step in growing Shell’s chemicals business as part of its Powering Progress initiative, which sets out the company’s strategy to accelerate its transition to a net-zero emissions energy business. This includes reducing emissions from its operations, fuels and other energy products it sells to its customers. It also involves capturing and storing any remaining emissions using technology or balancing them with offsets. In addition, as evidenced by SPM, the company is increasingly participating in value chains closer to end users and using advantageous raw materials to deliver higher value products while reducing exposure to chemicals from basis over time.

“I’m proud that in delivering this installation, we put a strong and innovative focus on safety; invested in the community through employment and education; and helped repair and improve the local environment by remediating a brownfield site. These commitments are at the heart of Shell’s Powering Progress strategy today and will remain so in the years to come,” said Vigeveno.