Shell wraps upgrade, expansion of Singapore ethylene cracker

Royal Dutch Shell PLC has concluded a long-planned upgrade and expansion of its ethylene cracker complex (ECC) on Bukom Island, Singapore, which along with the nearby 462,000-b/d Pulau Bukom refinery and 750,000-tonne/year monoethylene glycol (MEG) plant on Jurong Island, forms part of the company’s fully integrated Shell Eastern Petrochemicals Complex (SEPC) (OGJ Online, July 1, 2013; July 27, 2006).

In addition to reducing the ECC’s energy consumption and carbon dioxide emissions by about 7% and 11%, respectively, the debottlenecking and expansion project has boosted the plant’s ethylene production capacity by more than 20% from its previous 800,000-b/d capacity, Shell said.

While the company did not immediately disclose a precise figure for the plant’s expanded production capability, a Shell spokesperson told OGJ via e-mail that the upgraded ECC now has a new capacity of more than 1 million tpy.

The expansion and upgrading project was completed ahead of schedule, within budget, and without lost-time injury, according to Huck Poh, general manager for Shell’s Pulau Bukom manufacting site.

The ECC upgrade, which included installation of new furnaces, heat exchangers, and heating coils to make the conversion process more efficient, involved the use of 100 new and modified pieces of equipment, nearly 2,000 tonnes of steel, more than 200 km of cables, and 40 km of piping, Shell said in a project description posted to the company’s web site.

Following with Shell’s strategy to maximize integration of its Singapore refining and petrochemical operations to meet growing regional demand, increased production from the ECC will be shipped via a subsea pipeline to Jurong Island to support further expansion of intermediates plants, including Shell’s MEG plant as well as third-party installations, the company said.

A final cost of the upgrading project was not disclosed.

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