UpdateShell to build new units, upgrade polyols plant in Singapore

16 April 2013 05:50  [Source: ICIS news]

By Nurluqman Suratman

Shell starts building new production units in SingaporeSINGAPORE (ICIS)--Shell will start construction of new production facilities at its Jurong Island site in Singapore, including a high-purity ethylene oxide (HPEO) purification column and two world-scale ethoxylation units, the Anglo-Dutch energy giant said on Tuesday.

The company is also proceeding with upgrading works at its polyols production facility as announced in February and expects the projects to be completed next year.

Shell held a groundbreaking ceremony on Tuesday for the projects without disclosing investment details.

The new production units will add to Shell's existing HPEO capacity, which is currently at 65,000 tonnes/year, and alcohol ethoxylates capacity of 40,000 tonnes/year.

The HPEO purification column being built will have an initial capacity of 140,000 tonnes/year, while the two ethoxylation units will have a combined capacity of 140,000 tonnes/year, Shell said in a statement.

HPEO, which is derived from EO, is used in a wide range of household and industrial applications. Its largest outlet  is in the ethoxylation industry, which processes HPEO and alcohol into alcohol ethoxylates, which are key ingredeints in products such as detergents, shampoo and body wash, according to Shell.

"The demand for alcohol ethoxylates in Asia is expected to increase at approximately 6-7% annually over the next five years. The key driver for this is the move by consumers from laundry powder and soap bars to liquid detergent and liquid soaps, especially in major markets like China, India and Southeast Asia," said Shell Chemicals executive vice president Graham van't Hoff.

"We are expanding to meet the growing needs of our existing and new customers," said van't Hoff.

Feedstock for the new HPEO plant will come from Shell's EO/monoethylene glycol (MEG) plant on Jurong Island that is integrated with the company's ethylene cracker through  to its refinery in nearby Bukom Island.

Shell’s investments will cover building of product tanks and an HPEO pipelines, which will help in delivering to "over-the-fence" customers, "some of whom have already signed up with Shell and are building facilities nearby", it said.

($1 = €0.77)

Read John Richardson and Malini Hariharan’s blog – Asian Chemical Connections

By: Nurluqman Suratman

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