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Start-up of second Shell OMEGA process plant
02
Jun '09
Following the successful start-up of Lotte Daesan's mono-ethylene glycol (MEG) plant in Korea in May 2008, the second plant to license the Shell Global Solutions OMEGA (Only Mono-Ethylene Glycol Advanced) process has successfully started up in Saudi Arabia.

The 600 kta MEG plant owned by Petro Rabigh came onstream in April 2009. The MEG plant forms part of a state-of-the-art mega refining and petrochemical complex recently constructed at the Red Sea town of Rabigh, one hour's drive north of Jeddah.

The start-up was a success, with the MEG product on specification and the plant reaching full load.

Shigeo Niimi, Petro Rabigh's MEG Plant Section Head, said: "The fast and smooth start-up of the Petro Rabigh MEG plant based on Shell OMEGA technology reflects the excellent preparation by Petro Rabigh and close co-operation with Shell for this project. It demonstrates our commitment to leading edge technologies and drive for success."

Adri Postema, Global Manager, Ethylene Oxide & Derivatives Technology for Shell Global Solutions International BV, added: "The start-up by Petro Rabigh is the result of considerable research and development over many years. The successful deployment of Shell OMEGA technology demonstrates the professionalism of all parties involved."

Arthur Rots, Design Group Leader for Ethylene Oxide/MEG in Shell Global Solutions International BV, managed the project from its inception, working closely with the Petro Rabigh team for more than four years: "We are delighted to see the second OMEGA plant in commercial operation. Petro Rabigh has done an excellent job in preparing for the start-up. The start-up's success reconfirms the strength of the Shell OMEGA design."

The next OMEGA plant due to come onstream is Shell's own Shell Eastern Petrochemicals Complex in Singapore in 2009/2010. When complete, the 750,000 tonnes per annum plant will be the world's largest OMEGA plant.

MEG is a vital ingredient for polyester fibres and film, polyethylene terephthalate (PET) resins and engine coolants. The OMEGA process uses catalytic conversion of Ethylene Oxide to MEG, as opposed to the traditional thermal conversion approach.

Steam consumption and wastewater production are much lower and the capital cost for a new plant is about 10% lower than for a traditional plant with the same MEG capacity. The OMEGA process produces significantly less CO2 per tonne of MEG and virtually no by-products.

Shell Chemicals

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