By Ben DuBose
HOUSTON -- Shell hopes to get back in the global polyethylene
(PE) market through its planned petrochemical complex near
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, the company said on Wednesday.
Were not entirely out of [the PE business], but
were out of it in a reasonable way. We have to get back
into it, said Ben van Beurden, executive vice president
of Shell Chemicals. Were very clear about
He spoke at the IHS World Petrochemical Conference in
Earlier this month, Shell unveiled the Pittsburgh site where it will
process ethane from the abundant natural
gas produced in the nearby Marcellus Shale region.
The accompanying ethylene cracker would be the first built
in the US since 2000.
In that announcement, Shell said it was considering PE and
monoethylene glycol (MEG) units to help meet rising demand in
the North American market.
On Wednesday, van Beurden was even more forward with the
You have to ask yourself what would make the most
sense, he said.
Does it make sense to bring [ethane] down to Gulf
coast, convert into product, and send it back up? Or build
something in the region? We believe its the
In the big picture, van Beurden said Shell is eyeing a
larger global presence in the polyethylene market.
Look at how petrochemicals have grown over past
20 years, he said. Its doubled in terms of
demand. There are plenty of forecasts that say it will double
again in next 20 years, and there are a lot of fundamental
drivers to make that come true.
Its a very significant growth industry that we
want to participate in proportionally, he continued.
We do have plans to invest in other parts of the
PE will have to play a role in that, considering 60%
of worlds ethylene production will end up in
The 2012 World Petrochemical Conference lasts
through Thursday at the Hilton Americas in downtown Houston.
Stay tuned to Hydrocarbon Processing for further