After more than three years, Shell Chemical Appalachia LLC has completed its purchase of land in western Pennsylvania where it tentatively plans to build a multi-billion dollar ethane cracker.

Shell in March 2012 signed a purchase option for the 300-acre site in Monaca, PA, with Horsehead Holding Corp., which once operated a zinc smelting plant (see Shale DailyMarch 16, 2012). It then signed three amended agreements to extend its purchase option (seeShale DailyDec. 26, 2013).

Horsehead said Tuesday it closed the sale with Shell Chemical but said financial terms of the transaction were confidential. Shell has said previously no final investment decision has been made.

A cracker could be constructed at the site, which is adjacent to the Ohio River in Beaver County, about 35 miles northwest of Pittsburgh. If built, the complex would convert locally sourced ethane into ethylene and polyethylene, which are key building blocks for plastics.

According to a state air permit application filed last year, the facility would be capable of producing 1.5 million metric tons/year (mmty) of ethylene and another 1.6 mmty of polyethylene (see Daily GPIAug. 5, 2014). Shell still needs other federal and state permits before it were to proceed (see Shale DailyMarch 30).