Shell boosts production for chemicals customers in Asia
Apr 16, 2013
Final investment decision taken to increase production capacity of high-purity ethylene oxide and ethoxylates to meet projected demand in Asia.
Shell today announced new investments at its Singapore site that will add to its portfolio of world-class manufacturing facilities and boost its chemicals footprint in Asia. The company has taken a final investment decision to build new petrochemicals production units on Jurong Island to supply customers in the region.
The new investments will be built over some 35,000 square metres of land, about the size of seven football fields. They include a high-purity ethylene oxide (HPEO) purification column with an initial capacity of 140,000 tonnes per annum (tpa) and two world-scale ethoxylation units with a combined capacity of 140,000 tpa.
These will add to Shell’s existing capacities for HPEO (65,000 tpa) and alcohol ethoxylates (40,000 tpa) from the company’s 2010 acquisition of its partner’s shares in Ethylene Glycols (Singapore) Private Limited. The new investments also include associated facilities, such as product tanks and a HPEO pipeline grid. The pipelines will deliver HPEO to new and potential “over-the-fence” customers, some of whom have already signed up with Shell and are building facilities nearby.
Official groundbreaking took place today for these new plants, as well as for the upgrading of Shell’s polyols production facility, announced in February 2013. The ceremony was officiated by Singapore’s Senior Minister of State for Trade & Industry and National Development, Lee Yi Shyan; Executive Vice President of Shell Chemicals, Graham van’t Hoff; and Chairman of Shell Companies in Singapore, Lee Tzu Yang. More than 150 guests witnessed the event.
Graham van’t Hoff said, “The demand for alcohol ethoxylates in Asia is expected to increase at approximately 6-7% annually over the next five years. The key driver for this is the move by consumers from laundry powder and soap bars to liquid detergent and liquid soaps, especially in major markets like China, India and South-east Asia. Shell is one of a few global suppliers of HPEO and alcohol ethoxylates - we are expanding to meet the growing needs of our existing and new customers.”
HPEO, derived from ethylene oxide (EO), is used in a wide range of household and industrial applications. Its largest outlet is the ethoxylation industry, which processes HPEO and alcohol into alcohol ethoxylates. These are key ingredients for a variety of products, such as detergents and personal care items like shampoo and body wash.
Feedstock for the new HPEO plant will come from Shell’s world-class ethylene oxide/mono-ethylene glycol plant on Shell Jurong Island, which is integrated with the company’s ethylene cracker through to its largest fully-owned refinery on Pulau Bukom.
Graham van’t Hoff added, “These new investments build on the ones that we have announced in the last six months, which included the upgrading of our polyols plant and the debottlenecking of our petrochemical cracker on Pulau Bukom.
They underscore our global strategy to continue investing in our existing assets, which is vital for our long-term growth, particularly in the expanding Asian petrochemicals market. They also showcase our ability to derive maximum value from the integration of Shell’s oil and chemical businesses.”
Lee Tzu Yang underlined Shell’s commitment to Singapore, “HPEO and alcohol ethoxylates have increasing strategic importance in Asia for the chemical industry. Our investment here allows us to take the lead to support Singapore’s growth in this area by leveraging the country’s excellent position as a world-leading petrochemicals hub.”
Singapore Economic Development Board’s Director of Energy and Chemicals, Eugene Leong, said, “Shell’s investment in HPEO is an exciting development for Singapore. Besides deepening the integration within Jurong Island and leading to a more vibrant ecosystem, companies using HPEO will be able to support their customers’ growing needs in Asia from Asia.”
Notes to editors
- For more information on previous investment announcements, visit our Media releases directory.
- For pictures, visit the Shell Chemicals image library on flickr.
- Shell has been a leader in ethylene oxide (EO) technologies and markets for more than 50 years, and intends to remain a leading player.
- We are among the largest global producers of EO and ethoxylates, with world-class manufacturing facilities in Europe, the US, and Asia-Pacific.
- Shell proprietary technology is used to make almost half of all the EO produced in the world.
- Our latest catalysts convert up to 90% of ethylene into ethylene oxide (EO) during the production process when it is combined with oxygen at high temperature, compared to about 80% with the previous generation of catalysts.
- Our ethoxylates and alcohols are sold under the NEODOL* brand. We produce high-quality products manufactured to global specifications, allowing customers to create global formulations.
- Our technical product experts, located in Houston and Amsterdam, work closely with customers to identify the appropriate products for their needs, and to optimise customer formulations.
About Shell Jurong Island, Singapore
- Shell Jurong Island is the collective name for three operations that manufacture styrene monomer, propylene oxide, polyether polyols, propylene glycols, mono-ethylene glycol, high-purity ethylene oxide and alcohol ethoxylates.
- For more information, visit the Shell Jurong Island profile.
- The term ‘Shell Chemicals’ collectively refers to Shell Group companies engaged in the chemicals business.
- Shell Chemicals has a heritage of more than 80 years. We rank among the world’s Top 10 chemicals suppliers, selling over 18 million tonnes of petrochemicals per year to customers, many of whom are leaders in their own fields.
- Our world-class integrated manufacturing plants are in Asia-Pacific (Singapore), Europe (Netherlands), and North America (the US Gulf Coast and Canada).
- We have three leading research centres in the US, the Netherlands and India, with nearly 3,000 scientists and support staff.
- Our market-leading proprietary technologies underpin our strong product portfolio. We also invest to develop next-generation technologies that could use new types of feedstocks, at lower costs and with reduced environmental impact.
- We draw strength from being part of an integrated energy company - we benefit from shared infrastructures, access to a variety of feedstocks, and deep manufacturing and processing expertise. This gives Shell a competitive advantage over stand-alone chemicals companies.
For further information, please contact:
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Global External Communications Adviser – Chemicals
Tel: +44 20 7934 2253 / +44 7837 955 995
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