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Shell begins preliminary work for Pennsylvania cracker

Aug '12
Shell Oil Company, a subsidiary of the US-based Royal Dutch Shell, has initiated preliminary work towards establishment of a cracker plant in western Pennsylvania.
The company has acquired a 300 acres land in Monaca near Pittsburgh for the construction of the plant, which will convert Marcellus Shale natural gas into chemicals like ethylene, which is used as a raw material in the textile industry, especially in polyester value chain.
Around 50 Shell employees are working full-time on the project, on which the company invested nearly US$ 4.7 billion in 2010 for obtaining drilling rights on over 650,000 acres of land, so that it could use its own wells for the supply of some of the natural gas that the plant will require for operation.
Shell is currently examining the available natural gas reserves in the area and also working on issues like the need of building pipelines, which would stretch up to hundreds of miles, to supply gas to the plant, as well as long-term deals with customers and suppliers throughout the region. The company is also exploring possibilities of using gas from Ohio and West Virginia.
However, the company’s board of directors is yet to give their final go ahead signal and hence, the designing and construction processes for the cracker plant could take several years to finish.
Cracker plants use high heat and pressure, followed by extremely cold temperatures to split ethane molecules into smaller chemical components. The broken compounds are further processed and used in the manufacturing of clothing and carpeting, among other things. These plants look like gasoline refineries, with miles of pipelines and large storage tanks. 

Fibre2fashion News Desk - India

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