Shell is planning to build a
world-scale ethylene cracker with integrated derivative units
in the Appalachian region of the US, company officials said on
The cracker would process ethane
from Marcellus natural gas to produce ethylene, one of the
primary building blocks for petrochemicals, officials said.
Shell is joining producers such
as Dow Chemical, Chevron Phillips Chemical and LyondellBasell,
who have each said they will build or are considering a
new US cracker in coming years.
Shell is evaluating derivative
choices and said the leading option is polyethylene (PE),
an important raw material for items from packaging and
adhesives to automotive components and pipe.
Most of the PE production would
be used by northeastern US industries, the company said.
Building an ethane-fed
cracker in Appalachia would unlock significant gas production
in the Marcellus region by providing a local outlet for the
ethane, said Ben van Beurden, Shell executive vice
president of chemicals.
This fits well with our
strategy to strengthen our chemicals feedstock advantage and would be
another step in growing our chemicals business to meet the
increasing demand for petrochemicals.
Demand for PE in North America
is expected to grow, so the economic and efficiency benefits of
a regional cracker make the configuration attractive, the
As a leader in gas technologies,
Shell said it has an array of long-term options to monetize
Extracting ethane and other
natural gas liquids for petrochemicals production is one of
those options that also include developing shipping solutions
for LNG (liquefied natural gas); proprietary gas-to-liquids technology to produce fuels,
lubricants and chemicals; and gas-for-transport in markets
focusing on heavy duty vehicles, marine and rail
US natural gas is abundant
and affordable. Shell has the expertise and technology to responsibly develop
this vital energy resource, including associated products such
as polyethylene for the domestic market, said Marvin
Odum, president of Shell.
With this investment, we
would use feedstock from Marcellus to locally
produce chemicals for the region and create more American jobs.
As an integrated oil and gas company, we are best-placed in the
area to do this.
Selection of the site for the
cracker and derivative units will be determined in the next
phase of the project, officials said. Building
the facility is subject to receiving all applicable
Financial terms and specific
capacity information have yet to be disclosed.