Shell subsidiary Shell Chemical Appalachia LLC began operations at its Shell Polymers Monaca (SPM) in Pennsylvania, making it the first major polyethylene manufacturing facility in the northeastern U.S., the company announced in a press release on Nov. 15.

Located in Beaver County, Pennsylvania, the facility is anticipated to produce 1.6 million tonnes per annum and expected to reach full production by the second half of 2023. It is strategically placed within a 700-mile radius of 70% of the polyethylene market in the country, which will offer easier access to the polyethylene pellet market, the release stated.

Polyethylene, a component in most plastics, is used in both everyday consumer products, such as household goods and food packaging, and in industrial and utility products.

"With great market access, innovative offers and connected infrastructure, Shell Polymers Monaca is well positioned and ready to serve customers with high-quality, competitive products," Shell downstream director Huibert Vigeveno commented in the release.

Shell reached final investment decision on SPM in June 2016, with construction beginning in April 2017.

The plant will have two gas phase reactors, as well as a slurry reactor. SPM is expected to provide 600 full time jobs in the local area, along with several thousand additional jobs from private industry and supportive public services.

The SPM plant will serve as part of the company's Powering Progress strategy, which lays out Shell's emissions reduction plans to advance its transition to net-zero emissions operations. Shell's current plan is to reach net-zero emissions by 2050.

"I’m proud that in delivering this facility we’ve had a strong and innovative safety focus, invested in the community through employment and education and helped repair and improve the local environment by remediating a brownfield site," Vigeveno continued. "These commitments are core to Shell’s Powering Progress strategy today and will remain so in the years to come."