Shell unveils petrochemical complex in Singapore

Eric Watkins
OGJ Oil Diplomacy Editor

LOS ANGELES, May 7 -- Royal Dutch Shell PLC announced the successful completion of the Shell Eastern Petrochemicals Complex (SEPC) project in Singapore, underlining the firm’s aim of remaining a leading player in the region’s expanding petrochemicals market.

“Our ambition is to grow in the dynamic Asian petrochemicals market, where we are already a leading player,” said Shell Chief Executive Officer Peter Voser, adding that the project “clearly demonstrates Shell’s strategy to focus on growth markets and to integrate oil and chemicals manufacturing to gain efficiencies.”

Shell said it designed the new facilities to maximize the benefits of locating refining and petrochemicals production within a single manufacturing hub on Bukom and Jurong islands, just off the coast of Singapore.

According to Shell, Jurong Island is a major petrochemical zone which provides opportunities for further integration with current and potential customers, as well as in Shell’s own operations.

The firm said that each of its new chemical production units started up as planned. They include a world-scale ethylene cracker, which started up in March, and one of the world’s largest monoethylene glycol plants, which has been producing since November 2009.

The project also included modifications to the Shell 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 enable the import and export of ethylene.

Shell said the additional capacity brought on stream by the SEPC project includes: ethylene, 800,000 tonnes/year; monoethylene glycol, 750,000 tpy; propylene, 450,000 tpy; benzene, 230,000 tpy; and butadiene, 155,000 tpy.

SEPC is Shell’s second major petrochemicals project in Asia in 4 years. In 2006 China National Offshore Oil Corp. and Shell Petrochemicals Co. Ltd. started up the 2.3 million tpy Nanhai 50-50 joint venture complex in China’s Guangdong province.

In July 2009, reports said the Nanhai venture planned to expand its refinery near Huizhou in southern China by 20% by mid-2010, since demand for its products is on the rise.

CNOOC and Shell Petrochemicals said the expansion would add 160,000 tonnes of ethylene to the plant's existing capacity of 800,000 tonnes and would require a total investment of $147 million.

According to Pieter Eijsberg, SEPC deputy venture director, Shell’s investments in Singapore and China reinforce the firm’s strategy to build chemicals production to meet the needs of Asia and Pacific countries which account for about 70% of global consumption of monoethylene glycol.

Contact Eric Watkins at hippalus@yahoo.com.

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