Singapore is the Shell Group’s largest oil and petrochemicals manufacturing centre in Asia Pacific.
It is over 120 years since Shell first invested in Singapore, purchasing land to set up three storage tanks on Pulau Bukom.
Today, Shell is one of the most significant foreign investors in Singapore, while Pulau Bukom is home to the largest wholly-owned Shell refinery in the world, with crude distillation capacity of 500,000 barrels per day, and a recently-built 800,000 tonnes per annum ethylene cracker.
The Shell Group has invested several billion dollars in petrochemicals and other chemical projects in Singapore, creating a platform on which to build a significant presence in the Asian market.
This presence in Asia has been strengthened by the strong performance of the CNOOC and Shell ‘Nanhai’ petrochemicals joint venture in Guangdong, China.
Shell Eastern Petrochemicals Complex
The Shell Eastern Petrochemicals Complex (or SEPC) investment project in Singapore created a world scale fully-integrated refinery and petrochemicals hub from new and existing assets. It marked Shell’s largest investment in petrochemicals and was completed in early 2010 on time, as planned and with a remarkable safety record.
The scope of the SEPC project included a new Ethylene Cracker Complex (ECC); a world-scale mono-ethylene glycol (MEG) plant; and modifications to the existing Pulau Bukom refinery. These were strategically located to take advantage of existing infrastructure and to ensure that maximum benefits would be achieved by integrating the petrochemical site with Shell’s Bukom oil refinery.
The new annual capacity brought on-stream by the SEPC project includes:
- 800,000 tonnes ethylene
- 155,000 tonnes butadiene
- 450,000 tonnes propylene
- 230,000 tonnes benzene
- 750,000 tonnes mono-ethylene glycol
The first four facilities are located on Pulau Bukom while the mono-ethylene glycol plant has been incorporated into the Shell Jurong Island complex.
Shell Jurong Island
Shell Jurong Island is made up of several chemical manufacturing assets that produce per year:
- 120,000 tonnes of ethylene oxide, which is converted into ethylene glycols and high purity ethylene oxide, and up to 40,000 tonnes of ethoxylates. These products are used in applications such as polyester fibres, polyester resins and detergent surfactants.
- 350,000 tonnes of styrene monomer, the starting material for plastics such as polystyrene, expandable polystyrene and acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene. The main applications for these products are in the automotive, electrical, appliances and packaging industries.
- 175,000 tonnes of propylene oxide (PO), used in a wide range of chemical derivatives including polyols, propylene glycols, glycol ether solvents and flame retardants.
- 220,000 tonnes of polyols, the main derivative of PO, which are used primarily to produce polyurethane foams, elastomers, adhesives and sealants. Examples of the most important polyurethane end-use applications and markets are furniture and bedding, shoe soles, appliances and construction insulation elements and the automotive industry in general.
- The site also incorporates the 750,000 tonne per annum mono-ethylene glycol plant that was built as part of the SEPC project.
Other chemicals assets in Singapore
Other wholly- or jointly-owned chemicals manufacturing assets in Singapore include the following:
- Shell Eastern Petroleum Pte Ltd (SEPL) owns isopropyl alcohol (IPA) and hydrocarbon solvents plants on Pulau Bukom. Applications for IPA include surface coatings, thinners, printing inks, adhesives, cosmetics, toiletries and cleaners. Solvents are used in a variety of applications including cosmetics, pharmaceuticals and personal care products.
- Ellba Eastern Pte Ltd operates a styrene monomer/propylene oxide (SM/PO) plant. The company is a joint venture between Shell Eastern Petroleum (Pte) Ltd and BASF South East Asia Pte Ltd. It has an annual capacity of 550,000 tonnes of SM and 250,000 tonnes of propylene oxide.
- The Petrochemical Corporation of Singapore Pte Ltd (PCS)* facility produces annually around 1.1 million tonnes of ethylene, 800,000 tonnes of propylene, 500,000 tonnes of aromatics, 300,000 tonnes of butadiene, together with 1-butene and MTBE. These products are primarily used by other Singapore-based chemicals producers.
- The Polyolefins Company (Singapore) Pte Ltd (TPC)* facility has annual production capacities of 260,000 tonnes of low density polyethylene (LDPE) and 680,000 tonnes of polypropylene. These polymers are used in applications such as film, injection/blow moulding, lamination, cables and pipes.
- Infineum Singapore Pte Ltd is a joint venture between SEPL and ExxonMobil. Its Singapore plant is located on Jurong Island and produces high quality chemical additives for fuel, lubricant and specialty applications.
* PCS and TPC are joint venture companies in which SEPL holds an interest through another joint venture entity, QPI and Shell Petrochemicals (Singapore) Pte Ltd (QSPS).