Shell cracker plant in Beaver County begins operations

Shell announced Tuesday that its Pennsylvania chemical project, Shell Polymers Monaca, has officially begun operations. The cracker plant will break down ethane molecules to produce pellets that can be used to make plastics for products ranging from automotive parts to food packages.”It’s a huge economic investment one of the biggest Pennsylvania has seen in recent history. But the jobs can’ t be understated,” said David Callahan, Marcellus Shale Coalition president. Shell has said it will create 600 permanent jobs. Shell Polymers Monaca sits on 384 acres adjacent to the Ohio River in Beaver County. “Building this world-class facility is a fantastic achievement and one the team can be proud of; it’s a showcase of Shell’s project delivery expertise,” said Huibert Vigeveno, Shell downstream director. “With great market access, innovative offers and connected infrastructure, Shell Polymers Monaca is well positioned and ready to serve customers with high-quality, competitive products.”Shell began construction on the plant in April 2017. The plant will have three reactors: Two gas-phase reactors and a slurry reactor. Now operational, the company said the plant will produce 3.5 billion pounds of polyethylene annually. It’s expected to ramp up to full production by the second half of 2023. This news is welcomed progress to area businessman John LaCarte. He and his partners bought a golf course near the plant. They plan to build an industrial park for the suppliers of the plant. “We’re very excited about the potential that the announcement that the plant is opening as operational will cause petrochemical industry development,” LaCarte said. However, there are many neighbors with concerns about the plant. Beaver County Marcellus Awareness Community, also known as BCMAC, established the Eyes On Shell Watchdog Team. The group of community volunteers keep an eye on the smells, sights and sounds of the plant. “Shell said when they started construction on this plant that they wanted to be a good neighbor,” said Three Rivers Water Keeper advocate Jess Friss. “We are hoping to hold them accountable to that.” “There is a concern that these pre-production plastic pellets would enter the waterway. Those could impact wildlife,” explained Mountain Watershed Association’s James Cato. Cato and Friss have worked closely with community members once a month for the last few years to take samples of the water both up and down the Ohio River. They call it “Nurdle Patrol” as they look for the plant’s plastic pellets in the waterway. The Beaver County Marcellus Awareness Community will host a meeting on Monday, Nov. 21 to present Shell with a to-do list to meet community expectations on transparency and accountability.

Shell announced Tuesday that its Pennsylvania chemical project, Shell Polymers Monaca, has officially begun operations.

The cracker plant will break down ethane molecules to produce pellets that can be used to make plastics for products ranging from automotive parts to food packages.

“It’s a huge economic investment one of the biggest Pennsylvania has seen in recent history. But the jobs can’t be understated,” said David Callahan, Marcellus Shale Coalition president.

Shell has said it will create 600 permanent jobs. Shell Polymers Monaca sits on 384 acres adjacent to the Ohio River in Beaver County.

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

Shell began construction on the plant in April 2017. The plant will have three reactors: Two gas-phase reactors and a slurry reactor.

Now operational, the company said the plant will produce 3.5 billion pounds of polyethylene annually. It’s expected to ramp up to full production by the second half of 2023.

This news is welcome progress to area businessman John LaCarte. He and his partners bought a golf course near the plant. They plan to build an industrial park for the suppliers of the plant.

“We’re very excited about the potential that the announcement that the plant is opening as operational will cause petrochemical industry development,” LaCarte said.

However, there are many neighbors with concerns about the plant. Beaver County Marcellus Awareness Community, also known as BCMAC, established the Eyes On Shell Watchdog Team. The group of community volunteers keep an eye on the smells, sights and sounds of the plant.

“Shell said when they started construction on this plant that they wanted to be a good neighbor,” said Three Rivers Water Keeper advocate Jess Friss. “We are hoping to hold them accountable to that.”

“There is a concern that these pre-production plastic pellets would enter the waterway. Those could impact wildlife,” explained Mountain Watershed Association’s James Cato.

Cato and Friss have worked closely with community members once a month for the last few years to take samples of the water both up and down the Ohio River. They call it “Nurdle Patrol” as they look for the plant’s plastic pellets in the waterway.

The Beaver County Marcellus Awareness Community will host a meeting on Monday, Nov. 21 to present Shell with a to-do list to meet community expectations on transparency and accountability.

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