Shell Chemicals Europe to halt glycol ethers production during 2013

20 December 2012 15:15  [Source: ICIS news]

LONDON (ICIS)--Shell Chemicals Europe is planning to halt production of glycol ethers from its plant in Pernis, the Netherlands during 2013, the company said on Thursday.

In an email sent to ICIS, the company said: "Shell Chemicals Europe B.V will stop manufacturing and marketing ethylene oxide [EO]-based glycol ethers and brake fluids during 2013."

Shell Chemicals produces EO-based glycol ethers grades including butyl glycol (BG) and butyl di-glycol (BDG) from its Pernis site.

Production capacity at the "multiproduction" Pernis unit is roughly estimated to be around 100,000 tonnes/year, but the share of glycol ethers output from the plant remains unclear with some market sources estimating it was around 60,000 tonnes/year in 2007.

Industry players estimate the move might indicate Shell Chemicals' interest in selling feedstock EO rather than its less lucrative derivative glycol ethers.

Shell Chemicals produces EO at its site at Moerdijk in the Netherlands. The facility has a nameplate EO equivalent (EOE) capacity of 305,000 tonnes/year, and 155,000 tonnes/year of ethylene glycol production.

A company source had confirmed earlier in the year that Shell Chemicals was considering expanding EO production capacity at its Moerdijk site, although it added the project was still in the “exploratory” stage.

Meanwhile, the company has no plans to stop production of its propylene oxide (PO)-based glycol ethers, more commonly known as propylene glycol ethers, it said on Thursday.

"This decision does not impact the manufacture and marketing of propylene oxide glycol ethers, which Shell Chemicals Europe will continue to sell.”

Additional Reporting by Samuel Weatherlake

By: Cuckoo James
+44 (0) 208 652 3214

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