Canadian Plastics

Shell suspends construction on Pennsylvania cracker due to COVID-19 concerns

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There are about 8,500 people working to build the $6 billion petrochemical plant near Pittsburgh.

Shell Chemical has suspended construction on a $6 billion petrochemical complex in Pennsylvania due to coronavirus pandemic concerns.

In a decision made on March 18, Shell said that temporary suspension of construction was in the best long-term interests of its workforce and communities near the construction site in Potter Township, outside of Pittsburgh.

Approximately 8,500 people are working on the site.

“In the days ahead, we will install additional mitigation measures aligned with [U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] guidance,” Hillary Mercer, vice president of Shell Pennsylvania Chemicals, said in a statement. “Once complete, we will consider a phased ramp-up that allows for the continuation of safe, responsible construction activities.”


The massive project includes a 1.6 million-ton-per-year cracker and three polyethylene plants.

Construction on the plant began in November 2017, with a completion date originally scheduled for the early 2020s.

As of March 20, one person in the state has died of COVID-19, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Health, and there are about 133 confirmed cases.


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