UpdateShells aims to develop methane into high-value petrochem

04 May 2010 11:27  [Source: ICIS news]

(Releads and adds details throughout)

By Nurluqman Suratman

SINGAPORE (ICIS news)--Oil major Shell is in the early stages of developing methane into high-valued petrochemicals as it expands its gas-to-chemical portfolio for the future, a senior company executive said on Tuesday.

The company was looking to expand its gas portfolio, which now includes LNG and gas-to-liquids projects, Ben van Beurden, executive vice president of Shell Chemicals, said on Tuesday.

"We can also look forward to the proposition of being a gas to chemicals company as well and that is what we are currently looking on," van Beurden said at the official ceremony to mark the successful completion of its largest integrated petrochemical complex in Singapore.

"Quite a number of very exciting opportunities are still at the early stage of development like converting methane to high-valued portfolio chemicals," he said.

The growing gap between oil and gas prices, such as that seen in the US now, would enhance the value of using natural gas as feedstock in the future, he added.

Shell was also looking at opportunities to bring natural gas from Qatar to Singapore as feedstock, van Beurden said.

"We are indeed looking at opportunities to bring hydrocarbons from Qatar into the chain here. That's obviously not got to happen in weeks or months... but its’ an obvious logical consequence from what has happened (the deal with Qatar)," he added.

Earlier at the official opening of new mixed-feed 800,000 tonnes cracker Shell CEO, Peter Voser, said that creating Shell's largest integrated site would bring "considerable synergies in terms of feedstocks, operations and logistics."

The project includes modifications to Shell's Pulau Bukom Refinery enabling it to process a wider range of crudes to supply feedstock to the cracker.

A new ethylene jetty and cryogenic terminal were also built to enable the import and export of ethylene, the company said.

The bulk of the ethylene produced would be fed to a derivative 750,000 tonne/year monoethylene glycol (MEG) plant in Jurong Island but around 150,000 tonnes/year of the monomer is expected to be exported mainly to term customers in southeast Asia, market sources said.

With additional reporting by Peh Soo Hwee

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By: Nurluqman Suratman

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