Marcus Hook: Lifeline from a pipelineAbout
To achieve this, our facility has built new processing units, including an ethane/propane splitter and ethane and propane chilling and refrigerated storage. Going back to 2013, we have built six tanks storing approximately 3 million barrels of propane, ethane and butane to support our Mariner East pipeline system, in addition to existing storage capacity of 2 million barrels in underground caverns.
Energy Transfer has also built a fractionator at the facility to process natural gas liquids that it will transport along the Mariner East pipeline system from western Pennsylvania.
Improvements at the facility have required nearly 9 million man hours, involving more than 5,000 individual workers. The facility began receiving propane in January 2015, and it ships propane and ethane for distribution to local, regional and international markets. The facility commissioned a first-of-its-kind ethane truck-loading rack to complement its existing terminal that supplies propane for local and regional delivery.
In April 2019, Energy Transfer announced a project labor agreement with the Philadelphia Building Trades, an association of some 50 local unions, for work on the Marcus Hook terminal. The two-year, $200 million agreement is estimated to create 1,200 jobs.
Seasonally dependent, approximately 200 trucks per day pick up propane for delivery to markets in and around Pennsylvania. In fact, more than 90% of the propane sold from the Marcus Hook truck racks stays in the four-state region of Pennsylvania, Delaware, New Jersey and Maryland.
There are other industries benefiting from the revitalization at the Marcus Hook Terminal, including maritime-related jobs such as ship agents, cargo surveyors, tug assists, ship chandlers and launch companies.
In November 2018, the team at MHIC was presented with the Top Gold Star ZISA Award for more than 2 million injury-free hours on the Mariner East project. The award was presented by the National Maintenance Agreements Policy Committee (NMAPC) to everyone who made this achievement possible: Energy Transfer, Nooter Construction and the Philadelphia Building Trades. This amazing number of hours was a record breaker on NMAPC charts, and presented at the Zero Injury Safety Award (ZISA) gala.
The Marcus Hook Terminal, formerly the Marcus Hook Refinery, was built in 1902 on an 82-acre plot purchased by Joseph Newton Pew’s Sun Oil Co. Initially dedicated exclusively to the processing of light sweet crude oil found in Texas, it became highly advanced in the field for petroleum production. In fact, March 2022 marked 120 years since the first crude oil shipment at Marcus Hook.
In 1937 the first catalytic cracker went into operation, enabling the facility to process 15,000 barrels of petroleum daily. During World War II, Sun Oil Co. employees at Marcus Hook processed more jet fuel for the Allies than any other refinery.
Nine times during 1942 and 1943, tankers of the Sun Oil fleet were struck by U-boat attacks, and four were sunk. Those encounters cost the lives of 141 Sun seamen, and in 1949 a statue was erected to honor those lives. It still stands today at the entrance of our facility. The attacks, while devastating, did not prevent the Sun fleet from shipping more than 41 million barrels of petroleum over 2.3 million miles of ocean during the war. As an operating refinery at its height under Sunoco Inc., the refinery processed 175,000 barrels of crude oil per day. In perspective, that is equivalent to filling 252,000 cars with gasoline, 1,500 flights from Philadelphia International Airport with jet fuel or 300,000 homes with heating oil.
Marcus Hook is home to one of the largest underground fuel storage facilities on the East Coast. Hundreds of feet below-ground at the Energy Transfer Marcus Hook Terminal lie five caverns storing butane, propane and propylene.
Built beginning in the late 1950s, four of them are still owned and operated by Energy Transfer, while the propylene cavern is now owned and operated by our Marcus Hook neighbor, Braskem.
After propane and butane reach Marcus Hook through the Mariner East pipeline system, the caverns are used as a safe, cost-effective way to store the product until it is ultimately delivered to consumers locally, regionally and overseas.
A team of Energy Transfer engineers supports the caverns’ daily operation, maintenance and equipment reliability through various safety checks. Deep-well pumps are used to pump the product to a surge drum located at the surface. The surge drum is used to remove water, and transfer pumps are then used to pump the product to its delivery destination – which can include domestic truck racks, pipelines, ships and railcars.
The refinery was idled in 2011 and was acquired in 2012 by Sunoco Logistics, which recognized its value in the shale gas era. Sunoco Logistics merged with Energy Transfer in April 2017.
The next several years were marked by dozens of headlines touting the economic revitalization brought by the Marcus Hook Industrial Complex, including the creation of hundreds of new jobs and the economic injection of a new workforce in the Delaware County region.
As part of the Mariner East project, the Marcus Hook Industrial Complex is revitalizing this former refinery into a world-class natural gas liquids (NGL) hub. To achieve this, our facility has built new processing units, including an ethane/propane splitter and ethane and propane chilling and refrigerated storage.
Going back to 2013, we have built six tanks storing approximately 3 million barrels of propane, ethane and butane to support our Mariner East 1 and Mariner East 2 pipeline systems, in addition to existing storage capacity of 2 million barrels in underground caverns. Energy Transfer has also built a fractionator at MHIC to process natural gas liquids that it will transport along Mariner East 2 from western Pennsylvania.