by Duane Nichols on March 20, 2020

Royal Dutch Shell yields to government actions

Shell suspends work on multi-Billion-dollar cracker plant in Beaver County

From an Article by Tom Fontaine, Pittsburgh Tribune Review, March 18, 2020

Shell Chemicals said Wednesday it will temporarily halt its multibillion-dollar project to build an ethane cracker plant in Beaver County because of coronavirus concerns. The company then plans to gradually ramp work back up at the sprawling site where about 8,000 people have been working.

“The decision to pause was not made lightly,” Shell Pennsylvania Chemicals Vice President Hilary Mercer said in a statement. “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,” Mercer added.

The decision came hours after Beaver County government leaders called on Shell to suspend work on the project.

“It’s time to shut down. Do what you have to do, but get to that point where we won’t have anyone on that site,” Beaver County Commissioner Dan Camp said at a news conference late Wednesday morning in front of the county courthouse in Beaver.

Camp, who was joined by fellow Commissioners Tony Amadio and Jack Manning and state Reps. Jim Marshall, Rob Matzie and Josh Kail, said his office had received more than 500 calls in recent days from concerned residents and Shell employees and contractors.

Callers reported crowded conditions on buses that take the project’s thousands of workers to and from the work site, limited hand sanitizer and other problems.

“With 8,000 workers, if something happens there, our health care facilities will not be able to undertake what they will have to do,” Camp said, noting that the Heritage Valley Beaver hospital is equipped with only 40 ventilators.

“There’s potential for a very catastrophic outbreak,” Manning added.

The government leaders said they had been in communication with Shell and Gov. Tom Wolf’s office about their concerns. “I believe Shell understands the problem and our concerns. I have confidence they will do the right thing,” Camp said.

The company did not say how long it would suspend work or how long it might take to ramp work back up to full capacity. “As of now, there is no definitive timeline to return to construction activities,” spokesman Curtis Smith said. “It’s too early to know that. For now, our focus is on the 8,000 workers who have dedicated their time and talent to this project.”

The company said it would spend the coming days installing what it called “additional mitigation measures” at the site. Smith said those measures haven’t been finalized, but could include using additional buses to transport workers to and from the site and installing more sanitizing stations and work tents on the site.

No workers at the site have shown symptoms of covid-19, the illness caused by the coronavirus, according to Smith.

Work on the project is expected to be completed sometime in the early 2020s, Smith said. When the plant begins operating, it will process ethane from the Marcellus and Utica shale reservoirs into ethylene and polyethylene, the building blocks of plastic. Officials have said it will employ about 600 full-time workers, and hundreds of others jobs could be created by spinoff companies related to the plastics industry.

“Our goal is to build a positive, decades long legacy in the region,” Mercer said in her statement. “That means earning our right to live and work here every day. It also means caring for people. While (suspending work is) understandably disappointing to many, we believe this decision honors that approach.”


Shell ‘s construction crew at risk of COVID-19 sickness

See also: Coronavirus PA: Gov. Tom Wolf orders all “non-life-sustaining” businesses in Pennsylvania to close, WPVI ABC News 6, March 19, 2020

HARRISBURG, Pennsylvania (WPVI) — Gov. Tom Wolf is tightening his directives to businesses to shut down, issuing a dire warning and saying Thursday that all “non-life-sustaining” businesses in Pennsylvania must close their physical locations by 8 p.m. to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

Enforcement actions against businesses that do not close their physical locations will begin Saturday, March 21st, Wolf said in a statement.

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Dana Drugmand March 23, 2020 at 3:35 pm

Shell’s Latest Annual Report: More Greenwashing? – EcoWatch

By Dana Drugmand, DeSmog, March 20, 2020

Two years after internal documents surfaced showing that Royal Dutch Shell, like ExxonMobil, knew about climate dangers decades ago, the oil giant released its latest annual report outlining its business strategy and approach to addressing climate change. Despite clear warnings from scientists, global health experts and even central banks of impending climate-driven crises, Shell’s report largely sends a message that everything is fine and the company’s “business strategy is sound.”

That is not to say that Shell is ignoring the challenges facing it and other oil majors. But overall Shell appears to be toeing the line between saying it is responding to the climate challenge and inevitable energy transition on the one hand, and maintaining its core oil and gas business model on the other.



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