Shell Chemical LP (Shell) signed a land option agreement with Horsehead Corporation to evaluate a site in the US Appalachian region for a potential petrochemical complex. The complex includes an ethane cracker that would upgrade locally produced ethane from Marcellus Shale gas production. The site is located in Potter and Center Townships in Beaver County near Monaca, Pennsylvania.

This positive development marks another phase as Shell continues to assess the commercial feasibility of a petrochemical complex in the Appalachian region. The next steps for this project include additional environmental analysis of the preferred Pennsylvania site, further engineering design studies, assessment of the local ethane supply, and continued evaluation of the economic viability of the project.

"We are very pleased to have signed this site option agreement," said Dan Carlson, General Manager, New Business Development, Shell Chemicals. "This is an important step for the project, and we look forward to working with the communities in Pennsylvania, and gas producers across Appalachia, as we continue our efforts to develop a petrochemical complex."

Shell looked at various factors to select the preferred site, including good access to liquids rich natural gas resources, water, road and rail transportation infrastructure, power grids, economics, and sufficient acreage to accommodate facilities for a world scale petrochemical complex and potential future expansions.

In addition to an ethane cracker, Shell is also considering polyethylene (PE) and mono-ethylene glycol (MEG) units to help meet increasing demands in the North American market. Much of the PE and MEG production would be used by industries in the northeast.

As an integrated energy company and a leader in worldwide gas technology, Shell has an array of long-term options to monetize natural gas. This includes extracting ethane and other natural gas liquids for petrochemicals production; shipping solutions for LNG (liquefied natural gas); proprietary gas-to-liquids technology to produce fuels, lubricants and chemicals; and LNG for heavy duty vehicles, marine and rail transport.