EPCA ’11: Shell likely to raise petrochemical capacities

04 October 2011 14:51  [Source: ICIS news]

BERLIN (ICIS)--Shell is likely to raise petrochemical capacities over the next few years by stretching and creeping current olefins capacities, head of base chemicals Brian Davis said on Tuesday.

“There is a lot of activity on investing in the core,” he said on the sidelines of the 45th annual European Petrochemical Association (EPCA) meeting. The company is undertaking a number of incremental projects to debottleneck existing capacities and add new feedstock streams.

Shell expects to get slightly more output from its 260,000 tonne/year nameplate capacity 2A cracker in Wesseling, Germany, Davis said. The closure of the 240,000 tonne/year 2B cracker at the site will be completed before the end of the year.

The company has plans for a significant increase of capacity of its cracker on Pulau Bukom, Singapore, during the unit’s 2014–2015 turnaround. A 15–20% capacity expansion is possible.

In the US, Shell has been cracking more cost-advantaged gas in its crackers as well as what Davis call “advantaged liquids” – liquid streams that offer a higher margin on conversion than naphtha.

The company is looking at the options for capacity creep in the US crackers, but volume expansions are expected to be relatively minor.

Davis admitted that Shell had problems following the start-up of its mixed-feed cracker on Pulau Bukom. “We went through a number of pit stops,” he said, to manage technical issues that were not design related.

“It’s disappointing that it had to slow down, but I’m pleased with the cracker we’ve got and the way it is running.” The cracker was running at a reduced rate on Tuesday following the fire at Shell’s adjacent 500,000 bbl/day refinery.

Shell is undertaking quite a lot of work on upgrading cracking efficiencies, said Davis. “It is a key enabler of driving efficiency and getting more for what you’ve got.”


By: Nigel Davis
+44 20 8652 3214



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