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Delco to search for more energy-related business

Buoyed by the rebirth of the Marcus Hook refinery site, the Delaware County Council on Tuesday said it would commission a $100,000 study to examine new industrial uses linked to the emerging Marcellus Shale energy hub.

At the Sunoco Logistics plant in Marcus Hook, the company has nearly finished repurposing an eight-inch fuel pipeline to deliver 70,000 barrels a day of natural gas liquids from across Pennsylvania. Sunoco plans a second pipeline as well.
At the Sunoco Logistics plant in Marcus Hook, the company has nearly finished repurposing an eight-inch fuel pipeline to deliver 70,000 barrels a day of natural gas liquids from across Pennsylvania. Sunoco plans a second pipeline as well.Read moreDelaware County Council

Buoyed by the rebirth of the Marcus Hook refinery site, the Delaware County Council on Tuesday said it would commission a $100,000 study to examine new industrial uses linked to the emerging Marcellus Shale energy hub.

County officials announced the study after touring the 800-acre former Sunoco refinery site, which Sunoco Logistics Partners L.P. is rebuilding into an industrial complex connected to the shale-gas region by the company's Mariner East pipeline project.

"We are excited and literally energized by Sunoco's Mariner East projects and what this means for the Delaware waterfront," said Mario J. Civera Jr., chairman of the five-member council.

County Councilman John P. McBlain said the Delaware County Industrial Development Authority would undertake the study, a follow-up to a 2012 report commissioned after Sunoco shut down its refinery.

The new study would identify business that could benefit from the propane, butane, and ethane that Sunoco is receiving in Marcus Hook through Mariner East.

McBlain said the study will guide the county to recruit businesses "to solidify the area as an energy hub for the East Coast."

Sunoco is nearly finished repurposing an eight-inch fuel pipeline to deliver 70,000 barrels a day of natural gas liquids across Pennsylvania to Marcus Hook. Most of the materials are committed to overseas buyers, who will load the fuels on vessels from the site's wharves.

Sunoco Logistics in November announced plans for a second $2.5 billion Mariner East pipeline that would deliver 275,000 more barrels per day of natural gas liquids to Marcus Hook. The company is also developing a unit in Marcus Hook to manufacture propylene from propane.

The enthusiasm in Delaware County for the pipeline appears unrestrained. When Sunoco began pumping propane through the Mariner East pipeline at the end of the year, the Delaware County Daily Times trumpeted the event on Jan. 3 with the headline "Shale-lelujah!"

Sunoco public affairs manager Joseph McGinn announced that the company had 30 job openings in Marcus Hook, ranging from salaried engineers to hourly operators.

"We're growing, we're hiring," McGinn said.

While Delaware County officials are excited about the economic development opportunities, the Mariner East projects have aroused strong opposition in some communities along its route where Sunoco has upgraded or added pumping stations.

McBain said Delaware County officials sympathized with local officials who objected to the project, but called it a "true regional asset" whose economic benefits would radiate beyond the waterfront.

"It may not be a direct benefit of a job or a real estate tax in their town, but they will experience the benefits of the things that are produced here," he said.

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