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Pillows to plastic bottles
Countless everyday products originate from crude oil — from fleeces to antifreeze, computers to carpets. At Bukom Island, Singapore, crude oil arrives in giant tankers and is piped to shore for refining and processing, either at Bukom or nearby Jurong Island, into the raw material needed to manufacture plastics, textiles and many other products.
“We are part of an industry that makes modern life possible,” said Nguang-Yong Chiew, former General Manager of the Shell petrochemical plants on Jurong Island. “Our nearby refinery produces transport and heating fuels, as well as raw materials for processing into petrochemical building blocks — the starting point for hundreds of everyday materials.”
Overview of the SEPC sites:
The refinery on Bukom Island has been operating for over 50 years. Recent modifications allow it to process a wider range of crude oils into fuels and other products. Some of these products feed into the nearby processing plant to make petrochemicals. Other oil products end up as transport and heating fuels, lubricants and road surfaces.
Products: liquefied petroleum gas, propylene, naphtha, gasoline, kerosene, gasoil, luboil, fuel oil, bitumen, iso-propyl alcohol, sulphur.
Ethylene cracker complex
The ethylene cracker receives raw material from the Bukom refinery and converts, or “cracks”, it into higher value products — the building blocks for many other chemical products.
Ethylene: the starting point for paints, refrigerants and detergents.
Propylene: essential to car parts, many household plastic products and textiles.
Benzene: used to make materials like styrene, which goes into items like insulation, CD cases and computer housings.
Butadiene: a core material for the production of synthetic rubbers used, for example, in carpets, footwear and road surfaces.
The mono-ethylene glycol (MEG) plant on Jurong Island processes ethylene from the cracker into MEG, a building block for the manufacture of plastics and textiles.
50% of MEG goes into polyester fibres used in clothing, upholstery, carpets, and pillows.
25% goes into PET resins used in packaging and kitchenware.
MEG also goes into engine coolants and antifreeze.