Our manufacturing plants in Pernis in the Netherlands and Sarnia in Canada are diverting resources to produce isopropyl alcohol (IPA) as fast as they can. IPA makes up about half the content of the hand-sanitising liquids being used to keep the virus down around the world. We are working hard, too, to meet increasing demand for our Alpha Olefins and detergent products – key ingredients in the hand soaps and surface cleaners made by household brands.

“We are so grateful to all the key workers, the doctors, nurses, and other frontline staff who go to work every day to save lives and keep essential services going for communities.’’ said Thomas Casparie, Shell Chemicals EVP. ‘’The need is great and I’m proud that Shell can play a role by increasing supplies of IPA for sanitisers and ingredients for soaps and surface cleaners.”

Since the outbreak of the coronavirus, Shell has been working hard to meet a surge in IPA demand from manufacturers of sanitisers both for the public and the healthcare sector, including hospitals. At Pernis and Sarnia, IPA production volumes have increased significantly and chemicals earmarked for other product lines are on standby to be diverted into producing IPA if needed. Customers that use IPA for non-health-related goods have been asked to delay their orders if possible.

The Shell team is also working closely with governments to keep track of and help meet evolving needs. On March 20, Shell announced that it would make 2.5 million litres of IPA, roughly equivalent to an Olympic-sized swimming pool, available free of charge for the Dutch healthcare sector.

On March 31, the Government of Canada listed Shell Canada as one of the Canadian companies that has stepped up to help during this crisis. Shell is donating 125,000 litres of IPA to the Government of Canada free of charge over the next three months to help the Canadian healthcare sector.

Shell Chemicals is working closely with customers, to understand how to best meet their increasing and changing demand for key ingredients for hand wash and surface cleaner products. We are translating that into our own manufacture and supply operations to ensure the products most needed are available. Shell’s Geismar site in Louisiana, the largest producer of Alpha Olefins and Detergents in the world, is set up to quickly match its output to customer needs.

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Shell companies first entered the chemicals industry in 1929, via a partnership in the Netherlands called NV Mekog, which manufactured ammonia from coke-oven gas.

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