APIC ’08: Shell Singapore cracker 'half way' ready

28 May 2008 12:47  [Source: ICIS news]

By Abdul Hadhi

SINGAPORE (ICIS news)--Anglo-Dutch petrochemical giant Shell Chemicals’ Singapore cracker was on track to start up by early 2010 despite cost pressures, its Executive Vice President Ben van Beurden said in an interview on Wednesday.

"The cracker has been going well. At the moment, we are about half-way. The start up should be at the end of next year or early 2010," he said on the sidelines of the Asia Petrochemical Industry Conference (APIC).

He added, however, that there was tremendous pressure on costs.

"There has been an escalation of EPC (engineering, procurement, and construction) costs and Singapore is no exception. But we are making a serious effort to contain cost pressure, and we will deliver the project within the expected budget," van Beurden said.

The petrochemical complex will include an 800,000 tonne/year ethylene cracker on Pulau Bukom and a 750,000 tonne/year mono-ethylene glycol plant on Jurong Island when it is completed.

Shell has also been increasingly focussing on Asia as population growth and economic development drive petrochemicals demand, and the region is expected to account for close to a third of the company’s capital employed by the end of the decade.

Underlining Shell’s commitment to the region, van Beurden said there were plans under consideration for significant new manufacturing investments including a world-scale styrene monomer/propylene oxide project and an official announcement is expected to be made in the next quarter.

"It will be worth several billions of dollars. It has to be world scale to reap economies of scale," he said.

He added that there were two options – to build a new integrated complex or to add the facility to an existing plant.

From modest beginnings, Shell’s market share for styrene monomer/propylene oxide has become significant and this was underpinned by four major world scale projects. Two of the complexes were in Singapore, while one was in China and the other in the Netherlands.

Shell’s Singapore joint venture with Ellba Eastern can produce around 250,000 tonnes/year of PO and 550,000 tonnes/year of SM.

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ICIS and The Chemical Daily have produced an official 84-page special publication on Asian petrochemicals for the APIC event

By: Abdul Hadhi
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