chemicals ethylene glycols close up of some bubbles

High Purity Ethylene oxide (HPEO) is a colourless, highly reactive and flammable gas at room temperature. It is produced by direct oxidation of ethylene with air or oxygen.

Because it reacts readily with other chemicals, HPEO is one of the most versatile intermediates and is used to produce many derivative products:

  • ethylene glycols (used in antifreeze, polyester for fibres, polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottles and containers, gas dehydration, heat transfer liquids, solvents, and polyesters);
  • poly(ethylene) glycols (used in cosmetics, pharmaceutical preparations, lubricants, paint solvents, and plasticisers);
  • ethanolamines (used in soaps, detergents, natural gas purification and textile finishing);
  • ethoxylated products of fatty alcohols (used in detergents, surfactants, emulsifiers and dispersants).


Our key strengths in high purity ethylene oxide

  • Among the largest global producers of ethylene oxide
  • World class manufacturing facilities in Europe, the US, and Asia Pacific
  • Leading position in ethylene oxide/glycol technology and licensing - Shell proprietary technology is used to make almost half of all the ethylene oxide produced in the world
  • Industry leadership position in product stewardship through working with customers to promote safe use and environmentally sound practices

More in Chemicals product portfolio

Ethylene glycols

Ethylene glycols are key intermediates in the production of polyester fibres, packaging and resins and are also used in everything from antifreeze and plasticisers to glues and film.

Propylene oxide

Propylene oxide is a chemical building block for the manufacture of a versatile range of derivatives including polyols and propylene glycols.