Beaver County shell cracker plant goes into operation

                Shell announced on Tuesday that its Pennsylvania chemical project, Shell Polymers Monaca, has officially begun operations.  The cracker plant will break down ethane molecules to make pellets that can be used to make plastics for products ranging from automotive parts to food packaging.  “It's a huge economic investment, one of the largest Pennsylvania has seen in recent history. Don't be underestimated,” said David Callahan, chairman of the Marcellus Shale Coalition.  Shell said it will create 600 permanent jobs.  Shell Polymers Monaca is located on 384 acres adjacent to the Ohio River in Beaver County.  “Building this world-class facility is a fantastic achievement and one the team can be proud of;  it is a showcase of Shell's expertise in project delivery,” said Huibert Vigeveno, downstream director at Shell.  "With excellent market access, innovative offerings and connected infrastructure, Shell Polymers Monaca is well positioned and ready to serve customers with high quality, competitive products."  Shell started construction of the plant in April 2017. The plant will have three reactors: Two gas-phase reactors and one slurry reactor.  Now operational, the company said the plant will produce 3.5 billion pounds of polyethylene annually.  It is expected to reach full production by the second half of 2023. This news is welcome progress for area businessman John LaCarte.  He and his partners bought a golf course near the plant.  They plan to build an industrial park for the plant suppliers.  "We are very excited about the potential that the announcement of the plant opening as operational will bring to the development of the petrochemical industry," said LaCarte.  However, there are many neighbors who are concerned about the plant.  The Marcellus Outreach Community of Beaver County, also known as BCMAC, has established the Eyes On Shell surveillance team.  The community volunteer group keeps an eye out for the smells, sights and sounds of the plant.  “Shell said when they started building this facility that they wanted to be a good neighbor,” said Jess Friss, advocate for Three Rivers Water Keeper.  "We hope to hold them accountable for that."  Cato and Friss have worked closely with community members once a month for the past few years to take samples of the water both up and down the Ohio River.  They call it the "Nurdle Patrol" as they search the stream for plastic plant pellets.  The Beaver County Marcellus Awareness Community will host a meeting on Monday, November 21 to present Shell with a to-do list to meet community expectations for transparency and accountability.  
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                                                            <p>Shell announced on Tuesday that its Pennsylvania chemical project, Shell Polymers Monaca, has officially begun operations.  

The cracker plant will break down ethane molecules to make pellets that can be used to make plastics for products ranging from automotive parts to food packaging.

“It’s a huge economic investment, one of the largest Pennsylvania has seen in recent history. But the jobs cannot be underestimated,” said David Callahan, chairman of the Marcellus Shale Coalition.

Shell has said it will create 600 permanent jobs. Shell Polymers Monaca is located on 384 acres adjacent to the Ohio River in Beaver County.

“Building this world-class facility is a fantastic achievement and one the team can be proud of; it is a showcase of Shell’s expertise in project delivery,” said Huibert Vigeveno, downstream director at Shell. “With excellent market access, innovative offerings and connected infrastructure, Shell Polymers Monaca is well positioned and ready to serve customers with high quality, competitive products.”

Shell started construction of the plant in April 2017. The plant will have three reactors: two gas-phase reactors and one slurry reactor.

Now operational, the company said the plant will produce 3.5 billion pounds of polyethylene annually. It is expected to reach full production by the second half of 2023.

This news is welcome progress for area businessman John LaCarte. He and his partners bought a golf course near the plant. They plan to build an industrial park for the plant suppliers.

“We are very excited about the potential that the announcement of the plant opening as operational will bring to the development of the petrochemical industry,” said LaCarte.

However, there are many neighbors who are concerned about the plant. The Marcellus Outreach Community of Beaver County, also known as BCMAC, has established the Eyes On Shell surveillance team. The community volunteer group keeps an eye out for the smells, sights and sounds of the plant.

“Shell said when they started building this facility that they wanted to be a good neighbor,” said Jess Friss, advocate for Three Rivers Water Keeper.  "We hope to hold them accountable for that."

“There is concern that these pre-production plastic pellets will enter waterways. They could impact wildlife,” explained James Cato of the Mountain Watershed Association.

Cato and Friss have worked closely with community members once a month for the past few years to take samples of the water both up and down the Ohio River. They call it the “Nurdle Patrol” as they search the stream for plastic plant pellets.

The Beaver County Marcellus Awareness Community will host a meeting on Monday, November 21 to present Shell with a to-do list to meet community expectations for transparency and accountability.

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