Shell has more than doubled production of high-purity ethylene oxide (HPEO) and ethoxylates at its site on Jurong Island, Singapore, with the addition of two new plants.

The firm has announced the successful startup of a new purification unit with a capacity of 140,000 tons per annum (tpa) of HPEO, and a new world-scale ethoxylates production unit, also boasting 140,000 tpa.

Launching the units required some 400 kilometers of cable, 60 kilometers of piping, and 180 pieces of equipment (including columns, reactors, vessels, heat exchangers), which were installed across 35,000 square meters of land over a period of two years.

HPEO is delivered through an ethylene oxide pipeline grid to ‘over-the-fence’ customers as well as Shell’s own expanded ethoxylation operations on Jurong Island. Feedstock for the HPEO plant comes from Shell’s ethylene oxide/mono-ethylene glycol plant, which is integrated with the company’s ethylene cracker through to its largest fully-owned refinery on Pulau Bukom.

“The demand for HPEO and alcohol ethoxylates in Asia has been rising over the years. These two projects are part of Shell’s strategy to serve the growing needs of existing and new customers locally and in the region,” said Graham van’t Hoff, executive vice-president for Shell Chemicals.

The new units, part of ongoing investments in the region, will “further strengthen Shell’s portfolio of world-class manufacturing facilities, and boost its chemicals footprint in Asia”, says Shell.

The availability of ethylene oxide and propylene oxide (PO) at the same location will benefit specialty chemical companies, which commonly use both intermediates in the production of value-added products.