Source of picture: chemindustry.org.sg
By John Richardson
NEW plants could be built in Singapore downstream of Shell Chemicals plans for optimising high-purity ethylene oxide (EO) production in the city state, the blog was told recently by a senior Shell Chemicals executive.
We assume that the new facilities are likely to produce high-value ethoxylates and perhaps ethanolamines. This would fit-in with the Singapore Economic Development Board strategy of going further down the petrochemicals value-chain.
Shell Chemicals acquired complete ownership of Ethylene Glycols Singapore (EGS) in November through buying-out the 30% stake held by a Mitsubishi Chemical-led Japanese consortium.
Following the deal there were media reports that the company planned to both optimise high-purity EO production at the Jurong Island petrochemicals complex and expand EO capacity, including possibly building a new plant.
Our colleagues at ICIS news had reported back in May last year that Shell Chemicals was in the advanced stage of planning for a new high-purity EO plant in Singapore.
But Iain Lo, the company's Vice-President New Business Development and Ventures, told us: "I would rather use the term optimisation than expansion because it's all about looking at the best balance between EO and mono-ethylene glycol (MEG) production."
This balancing-out would involve both the older EGS plant and the Omega-process EO/MEG plant, which was brought on-stream in November last year, he added.
"Our high-purity EO could be consumed by new 'over-the-fence' customers in Singapore. This would fit with the Singapore government's objective of adding value downstream.
"It is a developing story and we expect some announcements in H2 next year."