Shell extends option on Pa. site for cracker plant

Published on NewsOK Modified: December 26, 2013 at 12:17 pm •  Published: December 26, 2013
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PITTSBURGH (AP) — Shell Chemical LP has extended its option to buy Pennsylvania land that could become a multibillion-dollar petrochemical plant and recently bought an adjacent property.

Horsehead Corp., which owns the 300-acre site in Monaca where the Shell plant would be located, said the new agreement includes plans to start demolishing an existing zinc plant in early 2014 at Shell's expense.

Shell spokeswoman Kimberly Windon confirmed the agreement Thursday. She wrote in an email that the demolition work will begin preparing the site for potential construction, but she stressed that Shell "is continuing its evaluation and has yet to make a final decision to proceed" with the project.

On Dec. 18, Shell purchased 5.5 acres of land adjacent to the Horsehead site for $1.87 million, according to Beaver County property records reviewed by The Associated Press. That parcel had been owned by another company.

Shell chose the Horsehead site, about 35 miles northwest of Pittsburgh, in March 2012 but has cautioned that it would be several years before a final decision to build was made.

The so-called ethane cracking plant would convert ethane from bountiful Marcellus Shale natural gas liquids into more profitable chemicals such as ethylene, which are used to produce everything from plastics to tires to antifreeze. A cracker plant looks very similar to a gasoline refinery, with miles of pipes and large storage tanks. The final complex could cover several hundred acres.

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