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Virus concerns halt Shell Pennsylvania project construction

March 23/2020

MOSCOW (MRC) -- The COVID-19 outbreak has led Shell Chemical to temporarily suspend construction on the massive plastics and petrochemicals site it's building in Monaca, Pa, reported PlasticsNews.

"The health and well-being of our workers and nearby communities remains Shell's top priority," Shell Pennsylvania Chemical Vice President Hilary Mercer said in a March 18 statement. "That's an ethos we live by every day, but it's especially relevant at a time when the world is taking drastic measures to contain the spread of the COVID-19 virus. We're committed to doing our part."

Mercer added that "in the days ahead [Shell] will install additional mitigation measures aligned with CDC (US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) guidance."

"Once complete, we will consider a phased ramp-up that allows for the continuation of safe, responsible construction activities," she said.

Mercer also said that Shell officials "are proud of the over 8,000 workers who have committed their time and expertise to one of the largest construction projects in the United States, and the first of its kind in Pennsylvania.

"The decision to pause was not made lightly," she said. "But we feel strongly the temporary suspension of construction activities is in the best long-term interest of our workforce, nearby townships and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

"Our goal is to build a positive, decades-long legacy in the region. That means earning our right to live and work here every day. It also means caring for people. While understandably disappointing to many, we believe this decision honors that approach."

Shell began construction in Monaca, near Pittsburgh, in late 2017. The 386-acre project will be the first US petrochemicals project built outside of the Gulf Coast of Texas and Louisiana in several decades. Production is expected to begin in the early 2020s.

The complex will use ethane from shale gas produced in the Marcellus and Utica basins to make around 3.5 billion pounds of polyethylene resin per year. The complex will include four processing units, an ethane cracker and three PE units. Most of the resin made in Monaca is expected to be sold to Shell customers within North America.

Shell Chemical is a unit of global energy firm Royal Dutch Shell. The business is based in The Hague, Netherlands, with US headquarters in Houston.

As MRC informed earlier, in mid-February 2020, Shell confirmed coronavirus case at its Singapore refining site. Namely, a contractor working at Shell's Pulau Bukom manufacturing site in Singapore contracted the new coronavirus.

We also remind that Shell Singapore restarted its naphtha cracker in Bukom Island in early December, 2019, following a two months maintenance shutdown since the beginning of October 2019. Thus, this cracker was taken off-stream for the turnaround on 1 October 2019. The cracker is able to produce 960,000 tons/year of ethylene and 550,000 tons/year of propylene.

Ethylene and propylene are feedstocks for producing polyethylene (PE) and polypropylene (PP).

According to MRC's ScanPlast report, Russia's estimated PE consumption totalled 215,390 tonnes in the first month of 2020, up by 23% year on year. Shipments of all grades of high density polyethylene (HDPE) and linear low density polyethylene (LLDPE) increased due to higher capacity utilisation at ZapSibNeftekhim. At the same time, PP shipments to the Russian market were 127,240 tonnes in January 2020, up by 33% year on year. ZapSibNeftekhim's homopolymer PP accounted for the main increase in shipments.

Royal Dutch Shell plc is an Anglo-Dutch multinational oil and gas company headquartered in The Hague, Netherlands and with its registered office in London, United Kingdom. It is the biggest company in the world in terms of revenue and one of the six oil and gas "supermajors". Shell is vertically integrated and is active in every area of the oil and gas industry, including exploration and production, refining, distribution and marketing, petrochemicals, power generation and trading.
Author:Margaret Volkova
Tags:PP, PE, LLDPE, crude and gaz condensate, homopolymer PP, propylene, HDPE, ethylene, petrochemistry, Shell, Russia, Singapore, USA.
Category:General News
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