CNOOC and Shell announce start-up of second ethylene cracker in Nanhai

China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC), the largest offshore oil & gas producer in China, and Shell Nanhai B.V. announced on 2 May the official start-up of the second ethylene cracker at their Nanhai petrochemicals complex in Huizhou, Guangdong Province, China.

Several linked derivative units have also started up and the remaining units will start up progressively over the next few weeks. These new units were constructed by CNOOC and are owned and operated by the existing CNOOC and Shell Petrochemical Company (CSPC) joint venture.

The new ethylene cracker increases ethylene capacity at the complex by around 1.2 million tonnes per year, more than doubling the capacity of the complex. The complex benefits from deep integration with the adjacent CNOOC refineries. The expansion enables further monetization of advantaged feedstock from nearby CNOOC refineries, responding to the anticipated strong Chinese domestic demand in the long term. The new facility will also include a styrene monomer and propylene oxide (SMPO) plant, which will be the largest in China when it begins operations.

“The start-up of the new ethylene cracker and derivatives units is a significant milestone for Shell,” Graham van’t Hoff, executive vice president for Royal Dutch Shell plc’s global chemicals business, said. “I would like to thank our partner CNOOC for its excellent project delivery. As the largest single-site ethylene complex in China, CSPC is key to Shell Chemicals’ growth ambitions.”

“The expansion project demonstrates great synergies between CNOOC’s engineering, construction and management capabilities, and Shell’s advanced technologies in chemicals. It has been recognized by the government as a role model for major industrial projects in China. This shows what we can achieve through effective international partnerships. We can now produce more and better chemical products for the growing domestic market,” said He Zhongwen, chairman and president of CNOOC Oil & Petrochemicals Co. Ltd.

The new complex utilizes Shell’s proprietary OMEGA, SMPO and polyols technologies to produce ethylene oxide, ethylene glycol, propylene oxide and high-quality polyols, as well as advanced technologies for polyolefins, phenol and oxo-alcohols production. It is the first time that Shell’s industry-leading OMEGA and advanced polyols technologies have been applied in China.

Shell’s downstream business in China consists of 11 joint ventures and eight wholly owned companies. Shell is one of the leading international lubricants providers, bitumen manufacturers and marketers in China. Shell also has a large network of more than 1,300 petrol stations in the country, operated through joint ventures and a wholly owned company. Shell has four lubricants blending plants and one grease plant in the country.

CNOOC and Shell Petrochemicals Company Limited (CSPC) was established in 2000 and began operations in 2006. It operates a world-scale petrochemical complex (known as Nanhai) in the Daya Bay Economic and Technological Development Zone, Huizhou, Guangdong Province. The joint-venture partners are Shell Nanhai B.V., a company within the Royal Dutch Shell Group, with a 50% stake, and CNOOC Petrochemicals Investment Limited (CPIL), also with 50%. CPIL is owned by China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC) (94%) and Guangdong Guangye Investment Group Company Limited (6%). CSPC has more than 2,100 employees.