Shell announces plans to raise chemical production capacity in Singapore

ENERGY giant Royal Dutch Shell unveiled several new investments today to ramp up production capacity of certain chemicals here to boost its Asian footprint.

Shell said a "final investment decision" has been made to build new petrochemicals production units on Jurong Island to supply customers in the region.

The new investments will be built on 35,000 sq m of land, or 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 a year, and two world-scale ethoxylation units with a combined capacity of 140,000 tonnes a year. Associated facilities, such as product tanks and a HPEO pipeline grid, will also be built.

HPEO is used in a wide range of household and industrial applications. The chemical is processed into alcohol ethoxylates, a key ingredient for household and industrial detergents and cleaning products including those used for laundry, dishwashing and personal care.

Mr Graham van't Hoff, Shell Chemicals executive vice-president, said alcohol ethoxylates demand in Asia is expected to increase at about 6-7 per cent annually over the next five years.

He added: "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."

Construction on the new investments has begun, and is expected to be completed next year.

Shell said the these new projects build on its expansion plans unveiled in the last six months to expand production capacity.

These include expanding capacity at its ethylene cracker complex on Pulau Bukom to ramp up production of olefins and aromatics by more than 20 per cent, which was announced last November.