Shell Closes Deal to Buy Site for Cracker Plant

MONACA, Pa. – Shell Chemical has closed on a deal to purchase 1,000 acres in Beaver County along the Ohio River intended for a multi-billion dollar ethane cracker plant.

However, the energy giant has not made a final decision on whether it will move forward with the project.

“We will make our decision when our full project evaluation is complete,” Shell spokesman Michael Marr said in a statement.

Development and demolition at the 1,000-acre site began in earnest last year and continues. The land was once the site of the Horsehead Zinc plant, which has since been razed, leaving mostly vacant land.

Shell is considering construction of a large ethane cracker plant, which would convert ethane procured from natural gas from the Utica and Marcellus shale plays into polyethylene pellets. These pellets are used as base ingredients for plastics and other materials.

The purchase price for the land was $13.5 million, according to published reports.

The project could use as many as 10,000 construction workers over the length of its construction and employ as many as 400 full-time workers once it is operational.

Last month, HIS Chemical Week reported that Graham Von Hoff, executive vice president of Shell Chemicals, said the company expects to make a decision soon on whether to go ahead with the project.

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