Construction Continues on Shell’s Ethane Cracker Complex

by Duane Nichols on August 28, 2018

Chemical process equipment moves on Ohio River barges

Equipment for the Shell cracker plant travels on the Ohio River

From an Article by Shelley Hanson, Weirton Daily Times, August 26, 2018

Photo: Pieces of the ethane cracker plant being built in Monaca, Pa., made their way up the Ohio River near Shadyside on Thursday evening.

MARTINS FERRY — Motorists who travel along Ohio Route 7 and W.Va. Route 2 may have noticed very large pieces of equipment traveling via barge on the Ohio River last week. The parts are being shipped to the construction site of the ethane cracker plant at Monaca, Pa.

Pike Island Locks & Dam officials confirmed the shipments were headed to Monaca and moving through their locks on the river. One piece came through Wednesday afternoon, while another load arrived at the locks at about 11 p.m. Thursday.

Thursday night’s pieces, which appeared to be two large, white tanks on top of a barge-like container, were being pushed north by a vessel owned by Louisiana-based McDonough Marine Service.

The $6 billion Monaca plant is being built by Shell Chemical with construction expected to last for a few years before it is complete.

The plant is expected to manufacture 50 different products, all of which are types of plastics for manufacturing. Planned construction of the Monaca plant was announced in 2016 with work getting underway about 18 months later.

Meanwhile, residents of Belmont County and beyond are awaiting news on PTT Global Chemical’s final decision on whether to build a similar plant at Dilles Bottom south of Shadyside.

Preparations have been underway for the possibility of a cracker in Belmont County, including the purchase of land in the area of Dilles Bottom. The first announcement about potential construction of the plant by Thailand-based PTT came about three years ago. In January, word was released that South Korea’s Daelim Industrial Co. was partnering with PTT on the project — a collaboration that was officially announced in March.

The federal government also has committed $16 million to upgrade railroad tracks in that area. It also recently was announced that there would be major water infrastructure improvements made in the county that could help make the area more attractive to the plant developers.

Belmont County’s commissioners said during a town hall meeting in July that they hope to learn the fate of the project by the end of the year.

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