Shell to reclaim land around Pulau Ular
As part of its design and engineering study... Shell is looking at land reclamation around Pulau Ular - one of three small islands that make up Bukom - because there isn't enough space on the main Bukom island to build the project.
May 25, 2005
Shell sees Jurong Island plants taking all output of new cracker
by Ronnie Lim
[SINGAPORE] Shell Chemicals is confident that ethylene output from a multi-billion dollar petrochemical cracker it is looking at building here would be fully taken up by downstream or secondary plants on Jurong Island - ensuring the project is competitive.
For a start, a significant share of the cracker's proposed one million tonnes per annum (tpa) of ethylene would be consumed by a mono-ethylene glycol plant that Shell plans to build on Jurong Island as part of the overall project.
'We are also developing other outlets for olefins and benzene and we expect all the output from the cracker would be consumed on Jurong Island,' said Harshad Topiwala, Shell's general manager for Base Chemicals in the Asia/Pacific and Middle East.
A Shell spokesman said the company is talking with downstream parties but declined to name them.
Local uptake of 100 per cent of output will be a key driver for the cracker's go-ahead. Pipelines from Shell's Pulau Bukom refinery - where the unit would be built - to the downstream plants on Jurong Island are already in place, Mr Topiwala said in Shell Chemicals Magazine.
Another plus would be the cracker's integration with the Bukom refinery, which means it could make use of heavier, lower-quality feedstock such as low-sulphur waxy residue available from the latter.
'In return, lighter molecules produced by the cracker and not suitable for use in chemical operations would be fed back into the refinery,' said project
development manager Paul Hampson.
As part of its design and engineering study for the cracker, Shell is looking at land reclamation around Pulau Ular - one of three small islands that make up Bukom - because there isn't enough space on the main Bukom island to build the project.
On competition from rival Middle East crackers with access to cheap gas feedstock, Mr Topiwala said that although these can produce ethylene more cheaply, they can't produce much in the way of co-products. But liquid feedstock crackers - like the one Shell is looking at building here - can produce a range of co-products, such as propylene, butenes and benzene, apart from just ethylene.
'These are all part of our core portfolio and are an important factor in the overall economic viability,' Mr Topiwala said.
Also, the Singapore cracker would be closer to key growth markets - especially China - than rival Middle Eastern plants.
While all indicators point to a go-ahead, a final decision on the cracker is expected around end-2005 or possibly as late as mid-2006, which means it would not be operating until 2009. It would be Shell's third cracker here, following its half-stake in two Petrochemical Corporation of Singapore crackers with a total capacity of 1.4 million tpa.
Other cracker projects planned in the region include one by ExxonMobil, which is studying a second unit here after its 800,000 tpa unit on Jurong Island, and Shell's Nanhai cracker, which is scheduled to start up three to four years ahead of its Bukom project.