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Shell to bring partner on PE component of a new cracker

June 07/2011

(ICIS) -- Shell could go it alone on any polyethylene (PE) component of its plan for a cracker project in the US, but it would also contemplate teaming up with another company, an executive said on Monday.

"Partnering is one of the things we would have to consider" for a PE side of the project, said Ben van Beurden, the Anglo-Dutch energy company's executive vice president for chemicals.

The cracker plan is being driven by the US advantage in relatively cheaper feedstocks because of swelling production of ethane from shale gas, especially from the Marcellus shale formation in the northeast.

The market has to take a view on how long that advantage will persist, van Beurden  said, adding that Shell obviously thinks it will go on long enough to make the investment worthwhile.

The big picture is that the US will be a "significant" PE exporter in years ahead, van Beurden said on the sidelines of the American Chemistry Council (ACC) annual meeting in Colorado Springs, Colorado. But the cracker plan itself is based on expectations for domestic demand in the US northeast.

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