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Shell converts lubricants-blending plant in Kenya for sanitizer manufacture, boosts IPA capacities in Europe and Canada

| By Mary Bailey

Royal Dutch Shell N.V. (Shell, The Hague, the Netherlands; is joining the fight against the spread of COVID-19 through the expanded manufacture of isopropyl alcohol (IPA) for hand sanitizer production. Last Month, Shell’s manufacturing plants in Pernis, the Netherlands and Sarnia, Canada began diverting resources to produce isopropyl alcohol (IPA) as fast as they can. IPA makes up about half the content of the hand-sanitizing liquids. Shell is also working to meet increasing demand for Alpha Olefins and detergent products – key ingredients in the hand soaps and surface cleaners made by household brands. Many companies are producing sanitizer and other essential supplies to fight against COVID-19, including ExxonMobil, Axalta,  BASF, PPG, Johnson Matthey, Lanxess and many more.

Now, in Africa, Shell’s joint venture in Kenya owned by Shell and Vivo Lubricants has converted a blending plant for lubricants into a plant producing hand sanitizers for the government.

In the Netherlands, Shell is making 2.5 million L of isopropyl alcohol available free of charge for the healthcare sector in the Netherlands. Furthermore, Shell says it is donating 125,000 L of isopropyl alcohol to the Canadian government over the next three months for use in healthcare facilities And in Germany, Shell has given ethanol to the German government, which was processed into 820,000 L of hand sanitizer.

Since the outbreak of the coronavirus, Shell has been working hard to meet a surge in IPA demand from manufacturers of sanitizers both for the public and the healthcare sector, including hospitals. At Pernis and Sarnia, IPA production volumes have increased significantly and chemicals earmarked for other product lines are on standby to be diverted into producing IPA if needed. Customers that use IPA for non-health-related goods have been asked to delay their orders if possible.

Shell is also deploying technical expertise to help tackle the shortage of protective face masks in the Netherlands. Shell is part of a consortium there that is developing a new type of medical mask, and Shell’s 3-D printers are producing some of the parts.

And in Nigeria, Shell is part of a group of oil and gas companies, led by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, that has donated around $30 million to the Nigerian government to help support health-care facilities. Shell’s contribution is around $3.2 million.