Squeezing the most out of every barrel of oil
The complex was designed to perform well through the economic cycle. The refinery was integrated with the chemical plant on Bukom Island off the coast of Singapore and linked up by a series of pipelines to chemical plants on Jurong Island. They shared the same infrastructure.
The refinery can handle a wide range of crude oil, which it processes into different fuels and petrochemical raw materials. It pumps some of these materials to the new ethylene cracker built next to it for further processing. The cracker converts these into other products, including ethylene, propylene and benzene. Pipelines on the seabed — each 4.5 kilometres (2.8 miles) long — connect the cracker to the MEG plant and other industrial customers on Jurong Island. Ethylene can be cooled down to a liquid for export from a jetty or stored in a cryogenic terminal.
The refinery and cracker can handle a wide range of raw materials selected to take advantage of fluctuations in market conditions and supply, squeezing the most value out of every barrel of oil.
The cracker, for example, can process heavier, lower-cost raw materials from the refinery, thanks to proprietary Shell technology. This gives it a competitive advantage over crackers that process more costly raw materials. It increases the margins between the cost of raw materials and the sale of the high-value petrochemicals that it makes.
”We can maximise our margins depending on feedstock prices,” says Huck Poh, former General Manager of the Pulau Bukom Manufacturing Site. “We can direct chemical streams to the product that gives the biggest bang for the buck.”