Shell to upgrade Singapore polyols production facility

Anglo-Dutch energy company Shell will upgrade its Jurong Island facility, Singapore, with its proprietary technology, to meet demand for specialised materials from the automotive and furniture industries.

The move follows a decision from Shell and its joint venture partner SABIC to develop a range of polyols and styrene monomer / propylene oxide plants at their Sadaf facility in Saudi Arabia.

"The proprietary technology has the added benefits of consuming less energy and process materials."

The expansion will raise the facility's production capacity for manufacturing polyols by more than 100,000 metric tons per annum (mtpa) to 360,000mtpa in 2014.

The upgrade is also expected to help the company add new grades to its polyols product line-up, which include ethylene oxide-tipped grades for moulding and high-resilience foam applications.

The proprietary technology has the added benefits of consuming less energy and process materials, as well as generating less waste, according to the company.

Shell Chemicals executive vice president Graham van't Hoff said the Asia Pacific market for polyols has grown rapidly over the years and the company sees increasing demand for higher-comfort products and the requirement for a wider polyols offering.

"The additional volume and grades from this Singapore investment will enable us to meet customer demand growth from key markets in Asia, particularly China," van't Hoff added.

The financial details of the expansion have not been disclosed. Shell Jurong Island general manager Chiew Nguang-Yong said the company has the right asset base on Jurong Island to capture growth opportunities within the region.

"Customers will clearly benefit from our investment as we can now produce the products they need more sustainably and efficiently," Nguang-Yong added.

Industrial chemicals polyols are used to manufacture high-quality foams.

Image: Shell's polyols production facility at Jurong Island, Singapore. Photo courtesy of Shell.