Shell Eastern Petroleum Ltd (SEPL), Singapore

During 2004 Shell Eastern Petroleum Ltd (SEPL) announced that it would progress a project to build a world-scale ethylene cracker. Downstream plants will include ethylene oxide (EO) and monoethylene glycol (MEG) capacity. Polypropylene (450,000tpa) and Benzene (230,000tpa) production units are also included in the complex. These plants are located on Singapore's Jurong Island.

At the same time, SEPL expanded output at its refinery, which is located on Singapore’s Bukom Island. The refinery provides feedstock for the ethylene unit, built on Bukom Island. The ethylene unit provides olefins and aromatics as feedstock for the production facilities on Jurong Island. The project was developed as a collaboration between SEPL and the Singapore Economic Development Board.

During the final quarter of 2006 SEPL broke ground for its petrochemical complex located at the Pulau Bukom refinery in Pulau Ular, Singapore. The complex, which is known as the Shell Eastern Petrochemical Complex was launched in a phased manner between the end of 2009 and early 2010.

On 25 May 2009 the NEWater pipeline and supply was commissioned as part of the project. NEWater is a product of the Singapore's national water agency PUB. Together with the eight existing and four new pipelines, the NEWater pipeline will create the major artery that will provide NEWater to the cracker. The feedstock from the ethylene unit will also be delivered to the monoethylene glycol plant via this artery.

In May 2010, Shell announced the completion of the petrochemical complex project.

Ethylene cracker contract

At the end of 2005 a joint venture between Japan’s Toyo Engineering and ABB Lummus Global of the US announced that it had been awarded a contract to provide the basic design and engineering package (BDEP) for the SEPL ethylene cracker.

"It is expected that the facility will have a capacity of between 1m and 1.3mtpa."

It is expected that the facility will have a capacity of between 1m and 1.3mtpa. The joint venture partners added that following a final investment decision by SEPL the BDEP contract would roll over into an engineering procurement and construction management phase.

The cracker is based on propriety technology supplied by ABB Lummus Global. It has been integrated in Shell's existing refinery on Bukom Island.

In March 2010, Shell announced the start-up of the ethylene cracker complex (ECC) of the project. The ECC complex has the flexibility to process different varieties of feedstock. This feature provides better security of supply to Shell's customers.

Ethylene oxide (EO)/monoethylene glycol (MEG) contract

During January 2006 Foster Wheeler Energy, based in the UK, and Japan's Mitsubishi Chemical Engineering, were appointed to provide the basic design engineering package for the monoethylene glycol (MEG) unit. The unit is slated to have a capacity of 750,000tpa. The plant is located on Singapore's Jurong Island and become operational in November 2009. Feedstock for the plant is sourced from the new ethylene cracker.

Technology for the monoethylene glycol plant

The new MEG plant uses Shell's OMEGA technology, which incorporates Shell's proprietary EO technology for the front-end ethylene oxide unit. Catalytic glycol production technology developed by Mitsubishi Chemical Corporation allows for production of the final product.

The OMEGA process is said to require less ethylene feedstock per ton of MEG than existing technologies. Other advantages are said to include lower energy and water consumption.

Butadiene technology

During the final quarter of 2006 US-based ABB Lummus Global announced that it had been awarded a contract from SEPL in relation to a 155,000tpa butadiene unit. The contract covered a licence and basic engineering of a grassroots facility.

The butadiene unit uses proprietary technology from ABB Lummus Global/BASF. This technology utilises n-methylpyrrolidone as a solvent, which results in high purity butadiene and low operating costs. The butadiene unit is expected to start operations in few months.


Foster Wheeler Asia Pacific Ltd was awarded a separate contract for the basic design engineering package to modify and upgrade Shell's Bukom refinery. These modifications form a key aspect of the overall project which allows the integration of the ethylene cracker complex to the refinery to capture the benefits of oil-chemicals integration.

Following the final investment decision, SEPL awarded JV partners ABB Lummus Global and Toyo Engineering Corporation a contract for the implementation phase of the world-scale cracker. The partners provided engineering, procurement and construction management services for the 800,000tpa ethylene plant.


Both the cracker and the MEG plant are part of an overall Singapore investment programme and are in line with Shell's overall strategy to develop its upstream business, enhancing the profitability of its downstream business. The integrated refining and petrochemicals complex will maximise site and location benefits and contribute to the profitability of Shell's downstream business.

"The complex will maximise site and location benefits and contribute to the profitability of Shell's downstream business."

Installation of propylene fractionation column

At the end of July 2008 Shell Eastern Petroleum Limited (SEPL) saw the installation of the tallest column on its petrochemical complex being built in Pulau Bukom Singapore.

The 107m-high propylene fractionation column, weighing 1,000t, required the use of a specially designed platform twin-ring containerised crane to achieve the lift.

Shell said that the installation of the propylene fractionation column marked another "significant milestone in the project's construction".

Process analytical systems

At the end of September 2008 Asia Technology and Engineering (ATE) announced that it has been awarded a contract to supply two sets of analyser houses and various field analyser racks for SEPC's 750,000tpa mono-ethylene glycol (MEG) plant. The value of the contract was not disclosed. This contract followed on from one awarded in May 2008 to provide six analyser houses for SEPC's 800,000tpa cracker.

ATE is a Singapore-based contract manufacturer for process analytical systems and technical services provider for instrumentation, control and electrical engineering.