Shell drops plan for Gulf Coast plant, keeps Monaca ethane cracker on list

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Royal Dutch Shell announced today that it's dropping its plans for building a gas-to-liquids plant on the Gulf Coast, narrowing the competition for capital funds available for a proposed ethane cracker in Beaver County.

The company said the cost to build the gas-to-liquids facility was estimated above $20 billion and the difference between the relatively low cost of natural gas and the higher price of liquid fuels wasn't expected to last long enough to make the plant economic.

This means Shell is down to two major capital projects under evaluation -- the ethane cracker near Monaca and liquefied natural gas projects.

Shell's CFO, Simon Henry, foreshadowed today's announcement when he told investors during a quarterly earnings call Oct. 31 that the company will have to choose among the three.

"We can't do all of these," Mr. Henry said. "We will need to make choices which go forward."

Shell spokeswoman Kim Windon said today there is no update on either of the remaining projects.

Anya Litvak: or 412-263-1455.

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