ExxonMobil has commenced startup operations at one of the world’s largest ethylene steam crackers, the centerpiece of the company’s multi-billion dollar expansion project at its Singapore petrochemical complex.
The expansion, powered by a new 220-megawatt cogeneration plant, adds 2.6 million tonnes per year of new finished product capacity. It includes two new polyethylene plants, a polypropylene plant, a metallocene elastomers unit, an oxo-alcohol unit and an aromatics expansion, all of which are completed and beginning operation. Ethylene production is expected to start in the next few months.
“We have doubled the size of our finished product capacity at Singapore, making this the largest chemical expansion project in ExxonMobil history,” said Steve Pryor, president, ExxonMobil Chemical Company. “This is among the most technically advanced and competitive manufacturing sites in Singapore and the Asia Pacific region.”
The new cogeneration plant allows for the efficient generation of electricity to run pumps, compressors and other equipment, while at the same time producing additional steam needed in the production processes. Cogeneration is significantly more efficient than traditional methods of producing steam and power separately, resulting in lower operating costs and reduced greenhouse gas emissions.
The petrochemical expansion is significant to ExxonMobil. It makes the Singapore facility ExxonMobil’s largest refining and petrochemical complex. It also marks the first production by ExxonMobil of its proprietary specialty elastomers and metallocene-based polyethylene in the Asia Pacific region.
The expansion will increase the chemical plant workforce by 50 percent, bringing total employment at ExxonMobil’s Singapore integrated refining and chemical complex to 1,800. During peak construction, the project employed on site 22,000 workers who achieved more than 80 million work hours with no lost-time injuries in construction activities.
ExxonMobil has operated in Singapore for more than 100 years and is one of Singapore’s largest foreign manufacturing investors. The company has expanded refining and petrochemical production in Singapore to meet expected demand for transportation fuels and the chemicals used for plastics and other manufacturing across the Asia Pacific region.