Shell Chemical Appalachia has started operations of its Pennsylvania Chemical project, Shell Polymers Monaca (SPM).
The Pennsylvania facility – the first major polyethylene manufacturing complex in the Northeastern United States – is expected to ramp up to full production by the second half of 2023 and will have a designed output of 1.6 million tonnes annually.
The plant will have three reactors – two gas phase reactors and a slurry reactor. Shell started main construction at Shell Polymers Monaca in April 2017 after taking a Final Investment Decision in June 2016.
Huibert Vigeveno, Shell Downstream Director, said the facility is well-positioned to capitalise on market access and connected infrastructure.
Located within a 700-mile radius of 70% of the US polyethylene market, SPM sits on 384 acres adjacent to the Ohio River in Beaver County, Pennsylvania.
SPM contracted most of its natural gas feedstock at Final Investment Decision from the nearby Utica and Marcellus basins. The advantages of proximity are not limited to production.
SPM also offers customers shorter supply chains, which translates to increased flexibility and access to polyethylene pellets that can be used in a wide variety of products such as common household goods, consumer and food packaging, as well as industrial and utility products.
The start-up represents an important step in growing Shell’s chemicals business as part of its Powering Progress strategy, using advantageous feedstocks to deliver more products while reducing exposure to commodity chemicals over time.
Vigeveno said the facility has has a strong safety focus, provided employment for the community and helped repair the local environment by remediating a brownfield site.