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Bechtel’s Impact Report

Pennsylvania Chemicals

Pennsylvania, US
Pennsylvania Chemicals aerial view

Providing access and opportunity for communities in Pennsylvania and global industries

The Pennsylvania Chemicals project, now Shell Polymers Monaca, is a world-scale facility that produces 1.6 million tonnes of polyethylene pellets per year to create everyday products from food packaging to industrial and utility products.

The project was nearly a decade in the making, involving craft professionals from across the U.S., represented by 15 unions, working 47 million hours during the construction phase. 

  • Pennsylvania Chemicals Trailer

  • Pennsylvania Chemicals -- construction phase complete

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The facility is a "megaproject" that offers communities in the region access to job opportunities and business development. During the construction phase, the project required close collaboration and a One Team coordinated approach between Shell, Bechtel, Great Arrow Builders, unions, local contractors and suppliers, and module yards in Maine, Louisiana, and Mexico. It took approximately 9,000 people working during peak of construction at the 386-acre site to reach this significant milestone, placing:  

  •  241,000 cubic yards of structural concrete; 
  •  42,000 tons of structural steel;
  •  over 1 million feet of pipe;
  •  1620 pieces of equipment; and
  •  253 modules produced in four module yards. 

The petrochemical complex in Potter Township, Beaver County is located north of Pittsburgh in the Ohio River Valley. It comprises an ethane cracker, three polyethylene units, a 275MW combined cycle cogeneration power plant, a water treatment facility, and large product storage with rail and truck loading capabilities.  
Bechtel was the Main Works Contractor for the construction, commissioning and startup of the facility. 

Learn more about the project.

What is ethane?

Ethane, like propane and butane, is a natural gas liquid (NGL) found in certain natural gas deposits, including the Marcellus and Utica Shale Formations. NGLs are separated from natural gas and used for a variety of industrial, residential, and commercial uses. Ethane is primarily used to create ethylene and will be the primary raw material for this facility.

What is polyethylene?

Linear low-density polyethylene (LLDPE) is the primary raw material for items like flexible food packaging and pouches, collation shrink wrap, stretch film, protective packaging, flexible tubing, sports equipment (canoes), industrial equipment (tornado shelters), wire and cable insulation, and agricultural films.

High-density polyethylene (HDPE) is used to create “stiffer” products such as toys, crates, drums, shampoo bottles, milk jugs, detergent/bleach bottles, pails (buckets), environmental liners, paint containers, garden furniture, and other types of housewares.