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New Plastics Manufacturer Set to Start Production at New Site Near Planned PA Cracker

The plastics company that became the first to announce a significant investment in Western Pennsylvania shortly after Royal Dutch Shell plc said it would construct a multi-billion dollar ethane cracker there is soon expected to begin production.

Retal PA LLC, a subsidiary of Cyprus-based Retal Industries Ltd., has said it plans to be ready for production at its 140,000 square-foot facility located in Washington County's Donora Borough in November. State officials announced over the summer that Retal would establish a manufacturing facility and U.S. headquarters in Donora. It would make polyethylene terephthalate preforms and plastic caps for the beverage industry there.

"Retal's investment further strengthens the plastics industry's presence here, which leverages our manufacturing heritage; current advanced manufacturing capacity; ample supply of low-cost natural gas for fuel; and soon, in-region production of polyethylene," said Pittsburgh Regional Alliance President David Ruppersberger after the facility was announced in August.

Shell said in June that it would build the cracker in Beaver County. That facility would have the capacity to produce 1.6 million metric tons/year (mmty) of polyethylene and 1.5 mmty of ethylene, which are key building blocks for plastics (see Shale DailyJune 7). The cracker would have the capability to consume a little more than 100,000 b/d of ethane. Production is slated to begin sometime in the early 2020s.

Retal, which has production sites in 14 countries, received millions of dollars in grants and low-interest loans from the state to help purchase the facility and train employees. The facility was once a Spartech Corp. plastics compounding plant. 

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