The parent company of Sunoco Pipeline LP on Monday announced $200 million in new projects in Delaware County that will employ as many as 1,200 trade workers over the next two years at the Marcus Hook Industrial Complex, terminus of Sunoco’s contentious Mariner East pipeline project.

Energy Transfer Partners (ETP), the Dallas parent of Sunoco Pipeline, said the construction projects would be scheduled under a recently signed agreement with the Philadelphia Building and Construction Trades Council, the umbrella organization that counts among its members more than 50 unions that work in the construction industry in the region.

Leaders of Steamfitters Local 420, Electricians Local 654, and Laborers Local 413 lauded the project at a ceremony Monday on the Marcus Hook waterfront.

Energy Transfer held the event as a counterweight to its recent clashes with prosecutors and anti-pipeline activists over construction of its pipelines in Delaware and Chester Counties, which has been fined repeatedly by regulators and become the object of criminal investigations.

The Marcus Hook complex, which housed a Sunoco oil refinery that shut down in 2011, was repurposed to store natural gas liquids like propane, produced in western Pennsylvania and Ohio, which are carried across the state in two Mariner East pipelines.

The complex now receives about 200,000 barrels of gas liquids a day, according to Hank Alexander, ETP’s senior vice president of business development, surpassing the amount of petroleum products that were processed daily during its previous life as a refinery.

A view of the refrigerated propane tanks during an announcement by Sunoco Pipline, a subsidiary of Energy Transfer Partners, of a $200 million in construction projects at the Marcus Hook Industrial Complex in Marcus Hook, PA on April 29, 2019.
DAVID MAIALETTI / Staff Photographer
A view of the refrigerated propane tanks during an announcement by Sunoco Pipline, a subsidiary of Energy Transfer Partners, of a $200 million in construction projects at the Marcus Hook Industrial Complex in Marcus Hook, PA on April 29, 2019.

While some of the propane and butane are sold into local markets, the complex is primarily a terminal for export to Europe. It’s designed to load large vessels such as the Corsair, a 738-foot gas liquids carrier that was berthed Monday, receiving a shipment of propane and butane.

Energy Transfer has invested $5 billion in building the pipelines and upgrading storage and processing facilities in Marcus Hook. New work will involve construction of a 56,000-square-foot warehouse, additional propane and butane chillers to keep the gases liquified, and rerouting the facility’s electrical supply.

Sunoco’s 350-mile Mariner East II pipeline, currently under construction, touches 17 counties across the state, and is a key link in the state’s effort to promote Pennsylvania shale-gas development. Its construction has been opposed by activists concerned about pipelines transporting highly volatile liquid fuel near homes, schools, and nursing homes.