Shell Starts Up MEG Plant In Singapore

18 Nov 2009 • by Natalie Aster

Shell Chemicals Limited announced Tuesday the successful start-up of its new world-scale monoethylene glycol (MEG) unit at the Shell Eastern Petrochemicals Complex in Singapore.

The unit started up as initially planned. With a nameplate capacity of 750,000 tonnes of MEG per annum, it is one of the largest in the world, reinforcing Shell's ambitions to maintain a leading position in the expanding Asian petrochemicals market.

The Shell Eastern Petrochemicals Complex also includes a new 800,000 tonnes per annum ethylene cracker, a butadiene plant and modifications to Shell's Bukom refinery, which are planned to start up in early 2010.

Mark Williams, Shell Downstream Director, said: "The commissioning of the MEG plant is a significant step towards the completion in early 2010 of the Shell Eastern Petrochemicals Complex in Singapore (SEPC). SEPC is our largest investment in Singapore and our largest petrochemicals investment to date, reinforcing our intention to continue to grow our Chemicals business selectively and to anticipate the needs of our customers in Asia."

"When SEPC is fully operational," Williams continued, "it will be our biggest, fully-integrated refinery and petrochemicals hub, from which we will enjoy economic and efficiency benefits in terms of feedstocks, operations and logistics."

The Singapore MEG plant marks another technology first for Shell. It is the first time Shell is using its award-winning OMEGA processing technology. The OMEGA process gives the highest commercial yields of MEG from ethylene."

The new plant is on Jurong Island in Singapore, an ideal location to serve Asian customers from within the region. Asia currently accounts for around 70 percent of global MEG consumption and much of the new capacity will be destined for China where the demand for MEG continues to grow.

MEG is a vital ingredient for polyester fibers and film, polyethylene terephthalate (PET) resins and engine coolants. End uses range from clothing and packaging to kitchenware and antifreeze. The annual output from the MEG plant could make more than two million tonnes of polyester, enough to manufacture 6.7 billion polyester shirts – more shirts than there are people in the world. The Shell OMEGA (Only MEG-Advantaged) process gives the highest commercial yields of MEG from ethylene. OMEGA plants also consume less steam; wastewater production is much lower; and the capital cost for a new OMEGA plant is about 10 percent less than for a traditional plant with the same MEG capacity. CO2 emissions are also significantly reduced per tonne of MEG produced.

Source: Shell Chemicals Limited

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