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Shell Starts Production at New Petrochem Unit in US

Shell Chemical LP (Shell) announced on Monday the start of production of the fourth alpha olefins (AO) unit at its Geismar chemicals manufacturing site in Louisiana, U.S.

The 425,000-tonne-per-year capacity expansion brings total AO production at Geismar to more than 1.3 million tonnes per year, making the site the largest producer of alpha olefins in the world, Shell's statement read. Alpha olefins are key ingredients in many finished products including laundry detergents, motor oils, and hand soaps.

According to the statement, start-up operations at the site began in December 2018. The main construction on the fourth AO unit at Geismar started in 2016, following a final investment decision in November 2015, it said.

Graham van’t Hoff, executive vice president for Shell's global chemicals business, described the expansion as a key growth project for Shell's global chemicals business.

"Our team delivered this world-class expansion project safely, on time and within budget. [...] Geismar will continue to play a leading role in providing the materials for products that an increasing number of people need and enjoy," he said. According to the statement, the new unit strengthens Shell's leading position in the U.S. Gulf Coast and illustrates the strategic value of its integrated downstream business.

Located next to the Mississippi River, about 20 miles south of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, the Shell Geismar Chemical Plant also produces alcohols, ethoxylates, ethylene oxide and ethylene glycols. The site is supported with advantaged ethylene feedstock from Shell's nearby Norco, Louisiana and Deer Park, Texas manufacturing sites, enabling the site to respond to market conditions, Shell said.

The company has also additional chemicals manufacturing sites in Canada at Scotford and Sarnia. According to the statement, Shell's global chemicals business sells more than 18 million metric tons of petrochemicals per year.

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