Shell Cracker

Shell Cracker Plant to Begin Operations in 2022

MONACA, Pa. – The Shell Pennsylvania Chemicals plant in Monaca, Pa., is on track to begin operations in 2022, a Shell spokesman confirmed Tuesday.

The $6 billion petrochemical complex is more than 70% complete, said spokesman Curtis Smith in an email responding to a request for an update on the project. He did not provide more specific information on when the plant might begin operations next year. 

The plant remains one of the largest construction sites in North America, with about 7,000 workers reporting to work daily. 

“On a daily basis workers are commissioning major pieces of equipment within our infrastructure units – a phased process that will continue until start-up. That includes connecting pipes and wiring that will eventually loop and extend for hundreds of miles along the site’s 386 acres,” Smith said.

Additionally, portions of the site’s water treatment facility are being commissioned and its 250-megawatt power plant will follow. Production units – an ethane cracker and three polyethylene units – will come online after the power plant.  

Work on the project, which began in 2017, was halted for a time beginning March 18, 2020, in the early weeks of the coronavirus pandemic. The pause was in the “interest of our workforce, nearby townships and the commonwealth of Pennsylvania,” said Shell Pennsylvania Chemicals vice president Hillary Mercer last year.

“Our goal is to build a positive, decades-long legacy in the region. That means earning our right to live and work here every day.  It also means caring for people,” she said. 

At the site, Shell follows and enforces COVID-19 guidelines as provided by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Pennsylvania Department of Health.  

“Our on-site COVID-19 mitigation measures include enhanced cleaning, social distancing, mandatory masks, sanitizing stations and temperature screening,” Smith said, noting the construction site has its own testing lab that produces results in four to five hours.

Pictured: The Shell cracker plant construction site in early 2020.

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