UpdateShell eyes further investments downstream in Singapore

11 December 2009 09:25  [Source: ICIS news]

(Adds details, background)

SINGAPORE (ICIS news)--Shell Chemicals is continuing to evaluate further investments downstream of its new Singapore cracker which will come on stream next year, Iain Lo, Vice-President of New Business Development Ventures for the company, said on Friday.

"The new Shell complex in Singapore currently comprises a 750,000 tonne/year mono ethylene glycol (MEG) [plant]," Lo said before the ceremony to mark the official inauguration of the MEG plant at Jurong Island in Singapore.

The firm plans to start up its new 800,000 tonne/year cracker at Pulau Bukom in the first quarter of next year, Lo said.

"We are continuing negotiations with several partners about potential further plans downstream of the cracker," Lo added.

One of the options being pursued was an expansion of propylene oxide-styrene monomer (PO-SM) capacity through its joint venture with BASF (Ellba Eastern) in Singapore, which can produce around 250,000 tonnes/year of PO and 550,000 tonnes/year of SM, Lo added.

The MEG plant was officially inaugurated by Ben van Beurden, Executive Vice President of Shell Chemicals and Lim Hng Kiang, Singapore’s Minister for Trade and Industry.

The current capacity of the plant was not immediately available but van Beurden told ICIS news on Wednesday that the facility was running at about 95%.

The MEG plant, one of the largest in the world, will use Shell’s OMEGA processing technology that consumes less steam and less wastewater than conventional technology, a Shell statement said. The company would be using the technology for the first time, the statement added.

"The capital cost of the OMEGA process is approximately 10% lower than other plants of the same production capacity," Hng Kiang said in his speech during the inauguration ceremony.

Van Beurden said that the majority of the MEG produced at the plant in Singapore would be consumed in the Asia-Pacific region, which accounts for 70% of global consumption. Regional consumption of MEG is growing at around 6% a year, he added.

The MEG plant is part of a Shell Eastern Petrochemicals Complex (SEPC) at Jurong Island and Pulau Bukom that also houses the new ethylene cracker, a butadiene plant and a refinery.

MEG is a key petrochemical intermediate that is used in the production of a wide range of consumer and industrial products such as polyester fibres for clothings, polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottles, film and coolants.

For more on Shell visit ICIS company intelligence
For more on MEG visit ICIS chemical intelligence
To discuss issues facing the chemical industry go to ICIS connect
Read John Richardson and Malini Hariharan’s blog – Asian Chemical Connections

By: Nurluqman Suratman

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