The new investments will be built over some 35,000 square metres of land, about the size of seven football fields. They include a high-purity ethylene oxide (HPEO) purification column with an initial capacity of 140,000 tonnes per annum (tpa) and two world-scale ethoxylation units with a combined capacity of 140,000 tpa. These will add to Shell’s existing capacities for HPEO (65,000 tpa) and alcohol ethoxylates (40,000 tpa) from the company’s 2010 acquisition of its partner’s shares in Ethylene Glycols (Singapore) Private Limited. The new investments also include associated facilities, such as product tanks and a HPEO pipeline grid. The pipelines will deliver HPEO to new and potential “over-the-fence” customers, some of whom have already signed up with Shell and are building facilities nearby.
Official groundbreaking took place for these new plants, as well as for the upgrading of Shell’s polyols production facility, announced in February 2013. The ceremony was officiated by Singapore’s Senior Minister of State for Trade & Industry and National Development, Lee Yi Shyan; Executive Vice President of Shell Chemicals, Graham van’t Hoff; and Chairman of Shell Companies in Singapore, Lee Tzu Yang. More than 150 guests witnessed the event.
Graham van’t Hoff said, “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 South-east Asia. Shell is one of a few global suppliers of HPEO and alcohol ethoxylates - we are expanding to meet the growing needs of our existing and new customers.”
HPEO, derived from ethylene oxide (EO), is used in a wide range of household and industrial applications. Its largest outlet is the ethoxylation industry, which processes HPEO and alcohol into alcohol ethoxylates. These are key ingredients for a variety of products, such as detergents and personal care items like shampoo and body wash. Feedstock for the new HPEO plant will come from Shell’s world-class ethylene oxide/mono-ethylene glycol plant on Shell Jurong Island, which is integrated with the company’s ethylene cracker through to its largest fully-owned refinery on Pulau Bukom.
Graham van’t Hoff added, “These new investments build on the ones that we have announced in the last six months, which included the upgrading of our polyols plant and the debottlenecking of our petrochemical cracker on Pulau Bukom. They underscore our global strategy to continue investing in our existing assets, which is vital for our long-term growth, particularly in the expanding Asian petrochemicals market. They also showcase our ability to derive maximum value from the integration of Shell’s oil and chemical businesses.”
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