By: Frank Esposito
April 15, 2014
Shell Chemical LP will host two public meetings on April 16 to discuss the possibility of building a major petrochemicals plant in the Pittsburgh area.
The meetings will be held in Hopewell, Pa., not far from Monaca, Pa., where Shell first proposed the project in early 2012. Shell has an option on a parcel of land there that could house a major unit making plastic feedstock ethylene. Downstream units making polyethylene resin could be added there as well, officials with Houston-based Shell said at the time.
The plant is a possibility because of newfound supplies of shale-based natural gas in the region. The Marcellus Shale deposit includes parts of Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia and is one of the largest in North America. Natural gas can be used to make ethane, which is converted into ethylene and then polymerized into PE.
Brazilian construction giant Odebrecht SA — majority owner of Brazilian petrochemicals leader Braskem SA — has announced plans to build a petrochemicals complex in Parkersburg, W. Va., which is also in the Marcellus Shale. Other firms have proposed similar investments, but market watchers have questioned these proposals, since they would be located far from the majority of the region’s petrochemical infrastructure on the U.S. Gulf Coast.