Friday, September 7, 2018

Shale Law in the Spotlight - Overview of the Falcon Ethane Pipeline System Project

Written by Chloe Marie - Research Fellow

The Falcon Ethane Pipeline System is a new 97-mile pipeline project proposed by Shell Pipeline Company LP that will cross the states of Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Ohio. The Falcon Ethane Pipeline System is designed to transport ethane - a natural gas liquid - from the MarkWest Houston Processing and Fractionation Facility in Houston, Washington County, Pennsylvania to the Shell Chemical Appalachia Petrochemical Complex in Potter Township, Beaver County, Pennsylvania.  Construction of the Shell Petrochemical Complex commenced in late 2017. Another pipeline segment will connect two plants located in Cadiz and Scio, Ohio to the Petrochemical Complex.  In a media release dated June 2016, Shell Chemical Appalachia LLC - which is responsible for the Petrochemical Complex project - declared that the purpose of such complex is to “use low-cost ethane from shale gas producers in the Marcellus and Utica basins to produce 1.6 million tonnes of polyethylene per year.” 

Construction on the Falcon Ethane pipeline is expected to start in the Spring of 2019, provided that all necessary regulatory approvals and permits have been granted. Once completed, the new pipeline will have a capacity of more than 107,000 barrels of ethane per day. 

Shell Pipeline Company LP submitted joint applications for the Chapter 102 and Chapter 105 permits in late 2017, and the comment periods for both applications ended on April 17, 2018. On February 28, 2018, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) addressed a technical deficiency letter to Shell Pipeline Company LP pointing out the need for additional information regarding Shell’s Chapter 102 permit application. DEP also sent out three more technical deficiency letters on June 1, 2018, regarding the Chapter 105 application. Shell answered these deficiencies on August 1, 2018. Media sources have reported that Shell Pipeline Company LP is now confident that construction of the Falcon Ethane pipeline will be completed by the end of the year 2019. 

It also has been reported that Shell Pipeline Company LP completed a restoration project on some Washington County wetlands in August 2018 to both offset local impacts from the Falcon Ethane pipeline in the county and ensure the granting of a permit necessary for construction on the Shell Petrochemical Complex in Potter Township. 

Further information on the permitting process for the proposed Falcon Ethane Pipeline System and the Shell Chemical Appalachia Petrochemical Complex is available on the Pennsylvania DEP website by clicking on the following link.


This material is based upon work supported by the National Agricultural Library, Agricultural Research Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture.

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