The complex, an ethylene cracker with a polyethylene derivatives unit, will be built on the banks of the Ohio River about 30 miles northwest of Pittsburgh. As many as 6,000 construction workers will be involved in building it once main construction starts in approximately 18 months.

Shell Plans Big Petrochemicals Complex Near Pittsburgh

The complex, an ethylene cracker with a polyethylene derivatives unit, will be built on the banks of the Ohio River about 30 miles northwest of Pittsburgh. As many as 6,000 construction workers will be involved in building it once main construction starts in approximately 18 months.

Shell announced June 7 that its Shell Chemical Appalachia LLC until has made the final investment decision to build a major petrochemical complex, an ethylene cracker with a polyethylene derivatives unit, on the banks of the Ohio River about 30 miles northwest of Pittsburgh. As many as 6,000 construction workers will be involved in building it once main construction starts in approximately 18 months.

The facility will begin commercial production early in the next decade, according to the announcement.

Why Pittsburgh? The complex will use low-cost ethane from shale gas producers in the Marcellus and Utica basins to produce 1.6 million tonnes of polyethylene per year, and the facility's location is close to gas feedstock and to its customers, who "will benefit from shorter and more dependable supply chains, compared to supply from the Gulf Coast," according to Shell, which reported that more than 70 percent of North America's polyethylene customers are within a 700-mile radius of Pittsburgh.

Polyethylene is considered the world's most essential plastic -- it is used in packaging, pipes, containers, automotive components, and many other products.

Once the facility is completed, it will employ a workforce of about 600 permanent employees.

"Shell Chemicals has recently announced final investment decisions to expand alpha olefins production at our Geismar site in Louisiana and, with our partner CNOOC in China, to add a world-scale ethylene cracker with derivative units to our existing complex there," said Graham van't Hoff, executive vice president for Royal Dutch Shell plc's global Chemicals business. "This third announcement demonstrates the growth of Shell in chemicals and strengthens our competitive advantage."

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