• Royal Dutch Shell

Shell Singapore invests in waste plastic to chemicals; explores green hydrogen, CCS, biobased diesel


Photo: Photographic Services, Shell International Ltd.

Shell Eastern Petroleum (Pte) Ltd. announced Nov. 23 a new investment that supports the growth of the plastic waste to chemicals industry in the region.


Shell will build a new pyrolysis oil upgrader unit that improves the quality of pyrolysis oil, a liquid made from hard-to-recycle plastic waste that would have gone into a landfill, and turns it into chemical feedstock for its plant. Slated to start production in 2023, the unit at Shell’s manufacturing site on Pulau Bukom will be the largest in Asia and Shell’s first globally, with a capacity of 50,000 metric tons per year (tpy). What it processes is equivalent to the weight of about 7.8 billion plastic bags.


Shell will use the treated pyrolysis oil to produce circular chemicals that are used in hundreds of useful, everyday products, from tires to mattresses. This responds to growing customer demand and Shell has already signed its first circular-chemicals agreement in Asia with Asahi Kasei.


The new investment is a key element in the transformation of the Bukom manufacturing site into the Shell Energy and Chemicals Park Singapore. The park will be fully integrated with Shell Jurong Island and together will focus on the low-carbon energy and sustainability needs of its customers, supplying biofuels, circular chemicals, bitumen, advanced lubricants and renewable energy.


In line with the company’s global targets, Shell Singapore will accelerate its transition and cut its own emissions from its operations by half in 2030 from 2016 levels. As Shell reduces production of traditional fuels in Singapore, including halving its crude processing capacity, it is developing plans to produce sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) and set up a carbon capture and storage (CCS) hub, which would capture and safely store emissions for Shell and its customers in the region.


“The Shell Energy and Chemicals Park Singapore is a key driver in our Shell Singapore strategy to transform our business, reduce our own emissions and those of our customers as we move to a low-carbon economy together,” said Aw Kah Peng, chairman of Shell Companies in Singapore. “We have been progressing with the country for 130 years. The transformation that we are embarking on is unprecedented for the industry here. We will be bold, we will innovate, and we are committed to provide the low-carbon and sustainable products and solutions that our customers want here and around the world.”


Gan Kim Yong, Singapore’s minister for trade and industry, officiated the ground-breaking ceremony for the new pyrolysis oil upgrader unit, noting the Shell Energy and Chemicals Park Singapore’s relevance to Singapore’s Sustainable Jurong Island plan he unveiled.


“Shell’s strategy is to accelerate our transformation into a provider of net-zero emissions energy products and services,” said Huibert Vigeveno, Shell downstream director. “As a key global hub for Shell, Singapore has a very important role to play in this. Together, these investments will help us to cut carbon emissions at our operations and provide the low-carbon and circular solutions that our customers want, in sectors ranging from chemicals to automotive to aviation.”


The Shell Energy and Chemicals Park Singapore is exploring a range of projects to deliver low-carbon energy solutions to customers in the region and globally, and meet the target of halving its own emissions by 2030:


Shell is exploring a regional CCS hub and will work with a range of customers, including the power sector in Singapore, to reduce CO2 emissions from existing operations. Not only will this help Singapore cut its carbon footprint, CCS will also become a cornerstone of the Shell Energy and Chemicals Park Singapore, enabling Shell to design and produce innovative lower-carbon fuels, chemicals, and energy solutions like hydrogen.


Subject to a final investment decision, a 550,000 tpy biofuels facility is planned, where hydrogen made from renewable resources and biobased feedstock, such as used cooking oil and animal fats, can be turned into low-carbon fuels such as SAF, renewable diesel for road transport, or renewable chemicals.


Shell’s actions will contribute to Singapore’s delivery of its enhanced nationally determined contribution for 2030 and Long-Term Low-Emissions Development Strategy for 2050 under the Paris Agreement and its strategy to achieve a low-carbon transition through the transformation of industry and adoption of advanced low-carbon technologies.


Shell aims to reduce the production of traditional fuels globally by 55% by 2030 and to produce 2 million tpy of SAF by 2025.

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