Shell's Pennsylvania petrochemical plant’s location allows it to take advantage of the massive NGL production from the Marcellus and Utica shales but proximity to feedstock is not the only reason it is there.

“Within a 700-mile radius of Pittsburgh lie 70% of the consumers of our product,” said Michael Marr, business integration lead of Shell Chemical. “We make the pellets that you can ship very densely and with great efficiency to faraway places. The products that are made out of polyethylene, be they bottles or be they something like a kayak, you want them produced closer to the customer.”

The complex includes an ethane cracker and polyethylene derivatives unit capable of producing 1.6 million tonnes of polyethylene per year. It will also result in about 600 permanent jobs at the site of a shuttered zinc smelter.

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