Shell CEO Ben Van Beurden said that the complex, now more than 70 percent complete, would likely be “fully operational” sometime in 2022.

MONACA, Pa. (AP) — Shell Chemicals officials say the planned multi-billion-dollar petrochemical, or ethane cracker, plant in western Pennsylvania is expected to be completed next year.

The company said in a statement Tuesday that the company is now in the early stages of commissioning and start-up activities, the Beaver County Times reported.

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Shell CEO Ben Van Beurden said in an earnings call last month that the complex, now more than 70 percent complete, would likely be “fully operational” sometime in 2022.

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Major portions of the site’s wastewater treatment plant have been commissioned, the statement said, and “commissioning and start-up of the relevant portion of the cooling tower” is slated in coming weeks.

The plant will break down — or crack — ethane molecules to produce pellets that can be used to make various plastics for products ranging from automotive parts to food packaging. Shell has said it will create 6,000 construction jobs and 600 permanent jobs once it opens.

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