Another step has been taken in building the region’s first “cracker.” That’s a processing plant that can turn ethane from Ohio’s Utica Shale into chemicals used by the polymer, plastics, and paint industries.
Royal Dutch Shell said in June it will go ahead with the construction of the $5 billion cracker just east of the Ohio line in Beaver County, Pa. This month the company is starting to acquire right-of-way for a pipeline from the Utica shale hubs in Harrison County to the plant.
Shawn Bennetr of the Ohio Oil & Gas Association says the cracker will boost area shale well activity, but could have other impacts.
“This is a first step toward creating a marketplace for the ethane here, for the producers to get an additional benefit out of the natural gas they’re producing now out of the Utica and Marcellus shales.But it’s also going to create a new industry for the states of Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia, that will last for generations.”
Shell has not yet applied for pipeline permits. The company hopes to have the cracker facility opened in 2020 or 2021.