Construction is underway at Shell Chemicals’ new $6-billion ethane-cracker plant in central Pennsylvania. Sited at a former zinc-smelting operation, the plant will produce approximately 1.6 million metric tons of polyethylene annually from Marcellus and Utica basin shale gas. Site preparation included moving 7.2 million cu yd of dirt, new rail lines and installation of 4,200 steel foundation pilings. The ethane cracker, the largest of four processing units to be built for the plant, will comprise more than 200 major components and 95 miles of pipe. Project officials estimate that more than 6,000 workers will be involved in the project at the peak of construction activity. The plant is scheduled to begin production in the early 2020s. Bechtel is the contractor for the main works.