These are challenging times for petrochemical plant operators. Significant volumes of new capacity are set to come on stream over the next few years, just as margins are under extreme pressure. This is compounded by climate change issues, changes in the energy environment and geopolitical issues.
However, the sector has shown to be cyclical. Many plant operators are resolving to combat the turbulence by examining key metrics such as operating costs, safety, reliability, integrity and utilisation. Their aim is to be best placed to prosper and grow when the sector emerges from this difficult period.
Leveraging tried-and-tested technology
Shell Global Solutions’ extensive knowledge and experience in working with complex petrochemical processing plants includes:
- Shell ethylene oxide/ethylene glycol (EO/EG) processes have been selected more than 70 times by major chemical companies around the world;
- we have licensed over 13 pyrolysis gas (pygas) hydrotreating licenses for grass-roots facilities and unit revamps with capacities ranging from 8 to 140 Mt/h; and
- Shell has over 15 years’ experience of operating isoprene recovery processes with acetonitrile extractive distillation technology.
We also offer a wide range of state-of-the-art catalysts. These include catalysts for EO, pygas, styrene, styrene monomer and hydrogen and speciality processes. In addition, we supply a portfolio of environmental catalysts and technologies for the reduction of nitrogen oxides, dioxins, volatile organic compounds, carbon monoxide and nitrous oxide.
By combining tremendous technological know-how with first-hand operational experience in the oil, gas and petrochemical industries, our aim is to provide solutions that surpass our customers’ expectations.
Proof Point - Lotte plant
The first plant to start up the new Shell OMEGA (Only Monoethylene Glycol Advantage) process was Lotte Daesan Petrochemical Corporation’s chemical manufacturing facility in Korea.
The Shell OMEGA process is based on catalytic conversion of EO to monoethylene glycol (MEG) instead of the traditional thermal method. As in the conventional Shell MASTER process, ethylene first reacts with oxygen to form EO using a high-selectivity catalyst from CRI Catalyst Company. The EO then catalytically reacts to MEG without producing the usual heavy glycol by-products – a major benefit. Some of the other advantages for licensees include lower capital investment costs, 20% lower steam consumption at equal EO reaction selectivity and 30% less waste water produced.
The Lotte plant start-up was successful, and the contractual design guarantees for capacity, product quality and process yields were achieved within a week of start-up. The entire project was executed in 29 months.