Pennsylvania Petrochemicals Complex site location & polyethylene supply and demand

US Pennsylvania Petrochemicals Complex

In June 2016, Shell Chemical Appalachia LLC has taken the final investment decision to build a major petrochemicals complex, comprising an ethylene cracker with polyethylene derivatives unit, near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA. Main construction will start in approximately 18 months, with commercial production expected to begin early in the next decade.

The complex will use low-cost ethane from shale gas producers in the Marcellus and Utica basins to produce 1.6 million tonnes of polyethylene per year. Polyethylene is used in many products, from food packaging and containers to automotive components.

The facility will be built on the banks of the Ohio River in Potter Township, Beaver County, about 30 miles north-west of Pittsburgh. As a result of its close proximity to gas feedstock, the complex, and its customers, will benefit from shorter and more dependable supply chains, compared to supply from the Gulf Coast. The location is also ideal because more than 70% of North American polyethylene customers are within a 700-mile radius of Pittsburgh.

The project will bring new growth and jobs to the region, with up to 6,000 construction workers involved in building the new facility, and an expected 600 permanent employees when completed. 

Nanhai petrochemicals plant

China CSPC Petrochemicals Expansion Project

China National Offshore Oil Corporation and Shell Nanhai B.V. announced the final investment decision in March 2016 to expand CNOOC and Shell Petrochemical Company’s (CSPC) existing 50:50 joint venture in Huizhou, Guangdong Province, China.

The project includes the ongoing construction of a new ethylene cracker and ethylene derivatives units, which will increase ethylene capacity by more than 1 million tonnes per year, about double the current capacity. It will also include a styrene monomer and propylene oxide (SMPO) plant, which will be the largest such plant ever built in China.

Shell will apply its proprietary OMEGA, SMPO and Polyols technologies to produce 150,000 tonnes per annum (tpa) of ethylene oxide, 480,000 tpa of ethylene glycol and 600,000 tpa of high quality polyols. This increases the volumes and diversity of CSPC’s high quality product range to around 2 million tonnes per year, as well as enhances overall energy efficiency. It will be the first time that Shell’s industry-leading OMEGA and advanced polyols technologies will be applied in China.

US Gulf Coast Petrochemicals Expansion Project

US Gulf Coast Petrochemicals Expansion Project

In November 2015, Shell Chemical LP announced the final investment decision to increase Alpha Olefins (AO) production at its chemical manufacturing site in Geismar, Louisiana, making the site the largest AO producer in the world. Shell will construct a fourth AO unit, adding 425,000 tonnes of capacity. The chemical site is used in the production of stronger and lighter polyethylene plastic for packaging and bottles, as well as engine and industrial oils and drilling fluids.

Construction of the new unit has started in the first quarter of 2016. The new capacity brings the total AO production at Shell’s Geismar site to more than 1.3 million tonnes per annum; the site, with a strong track record of reliable and safe performance, also produces alcohols, ethoxylates, ethylene oxide and ethylene glycols.

The Shell Geismar Chemical Plant is located next to the Mississippi River, about 20 miles south of Baton Rouge, Louisiana. It is a stand-alone chemicals manufacturing plant, operated by Shell Chemical LP. In addition to Geismar, Shell produces AO at Stanlow in the UK, operated by Essar Oil (UK) Ltd on Shell’s behalf as part of an integrated oil refinery and petrochemicals site.