June 19–PITTSBURGH — The project manager for Shell’s Falcon ethane pipeline said Tuesday the company should receive permits from the state within the next several months that will allow construction on the 97-mile pipeline to begin.
Doug Scott, a major projects director for Shell Pipeline Co., was speaking Tuesday morning at a petrochemical conference in Pittsburgh when he said 2018 has been a “very busy year” for the Falcon pipeline.
The Falcon pipeline will transport up to 107,000 barrels of ethane per day to Shell Chemicals’ future cracker plant in Potter Township. The project is under review by the state Department of Environmental Protection, which will eventually decide whether to approve the pipeline’s construction.
Scott said that if DEP gives the green light for the project, Shell Pipeline will begin right-of-way preparations at the end of this year, with construction on the pipeline tentatively set for the beginning of next year.
If everything goes according to plan, up to 1,000 workers will have the pipeline built by the end of 2019, and it will be ready for service sometime in 2020.
Shell’s pipeline is different from most other pipeline projects underway in the region, if only because the company didn’t use eminent domain to secure the land it needs to build the pipeline, Scott said. Instead, Shell Pipeline negotiated with hundreds of landowners and corporations to secure the necessary easements.
Scott also spoke about Shell’s “very robust safety culture” and said the pipeline will be built and operated in a way that “meets and exceeds” environmental and safety regulations.
Scott sat on a panel with representatives from other pipeline and natural gas companies during the Northeast U.S. Petrochemical Construction conference in Pittsburgh.
Glenn Koch, a vice president with Williams Co., told the assembled crowd that it’s an exciting time to be involved in the pipeline industry but noted there is still considerable “angst” about the lack of needed infrastructure in the region.
Shell’s pipeline is a major addition to that infrastructure, but it will be used solely for Shell’s purposes and won’t be used to transport natural gas to markets outside the region.
The lack of a robust pipeline network is especially concerning, he said, because the Marcellus Shale region is expected to be the “premiere center of natural gas production in the world” for at least the next five years.
The problem, he said, is that all of those natural gas liquids won’t have quick and efficient access to other domestic or foreign markets without more pipelines being built in the region.
The petrochemical conference concluded Tuesday afternoon after two days of panels, keynote speakers and networking events. Hundreds of executives from oil and gas companies attended.
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