Shell ethane pipeline application under review by DEP

Michael Bradwell
Observer Reporter

Shell Pipeline Co. has submitted applications to the state Department of Environmental Protection related to the construction of its Falcon Ethane Pipeline to carry ethane from natural gas production sites to Shell’s ethane cracker plant now under construction in Beaver County.

Lauren Fraley, community coordinator for communications in DEP’s Southwest Regional office, said Monday the permit application “is currently under technical review” by the agency. While Shell was earlier approved to construct the cracker plant in Beaver County, Fraley said this is the first time it has submitted an application for construction of pipelines to the plant.

Shell spokesman Ray Fisher did not return answers to submitted questions regarding the project from the Observer-Reporter in time for Monday’s deadline.

Fraley said DEP is taking public comment on the application until Feb. 20.

“After the comment period ends, we will make a determination on the permit,” she said.

The Shell applications involve water obstructions and encroachments that will be encountered in the construction of the ethane pipeline from processing facilities in Ohio and Pennsylvania to its plant in Monaca.

The company’s application to DEP is for an 18-mile portion of a multistate and multicounty pipeline project, with 59.6 miles of pipeline to be constructed in Pennsylvania

The project enters Beaver County about 3,150 feet southeast of the intersection of Old Steubenville Pike and Route 980, with a connection to the Houston natural gas processing plant in Chartiers Township about 1,500 feet northwest of the intersection of Western Avenue and Ullom Road.

Shell proposes to construct and maintain two 12-inch ethane pipe cross under Westland Run and an additional nine 12” pipe crossings under an unnamed tributary to Westland Run; it will also construct a 38-foot 12-inch ethane pipe crossing under Millers Run and an additional nine 12” ethane pipe crossings under an unnamed tributary to Millers Run; construct a 10-foot 12-inch ethane pipe corssing under Robinson Run and an additional five 12-inch ethane pipe crossing under an unnamed tributary to Millers Run; and construct and maintain six 12-inch ethane pipe crossing under an unknown tributary to Little Raccoon Run.

According to the application, the project will result in 2,057 linear feet of permanent impact to various watercourses, 1,166 linear feet of temporary impact to various watercourses; 0.02 acre of permanent impact to open waters; 0.01 acre of temporary impact to open waters and permanent and temporary impacts to several wetlands.

According to a news release issued Monday by Fractracker Alliance, an industry watchdog group, the project, which encompasses a total of 97 miles, will cross through 22 townshhips in Ohio, West Virginia and Pennsylvania.

Fractracker said its study was to provide “early access to what is being proposed for the Falcon pipeline to enable nearby communities to better understand how its construction and the associated ethane cracker facility” will affect them. The cracker plant will produce 1 million tons of ethylene annually for making plastics.

Details of Shell’s application can be accessed at Comments can be submitted by accessing or can be mailed to Waterways & Wetlands Program, 400 Waterfront Drive, Pittsburgh, PA 15222, c/o Dana Drake, Waterways & Wetlands Program Manager.

Fractracker has released its environmental impact assessment at