Woman sharing thought leadership regarding catalysts technologies

Three Keys to Solving Challenges of Evolving Markets

By Ed Holgate on Nov 25, 2019

1. Deepening the Refinery & Petrochemical Integration

The global chemical industry has witnessed an extraordinary growth cycle with production capacity almost doubling in size between 2000 and 2017 -- increasing from 1.2 to 2.3 billion tonnes, according to the recently published Global Chemicals Outlook II published by UNEP.¹

The report emphasizes that the chemicals industry is the second-largest manufacturing industry in the world, and also highlights that it is the third-largest industrial emitter of CO2 -- whilst at the same time being forecast to possibly double in sales in the next decade.

This presents new strategic paradigms for the industry, especially in the context of potentially accelerating the energy mix shifts driven by wider energy transition and a society that increasingly demands sustainable solutions. Changes driven by global megatrends are not only on the horizon for refining but are also rapidly becoming a strategic consideration for the chemicals industry.

Shell Catalysts & Technologies understands the critical role that constantly evolving technological innovation has on the petrochemical and energy industry as a whole. Succeeding in such a highly competitive marketplace requires the ability to focus on both immediate market demands as well as complex longer-term global trends such as the plastic waste challenge and the global mandate to create energy using more environmentally sustainable and innovative processes, particularly with regard to reducing CO2 emissions.

Because our affiliated companies within the Shell group are leading petrochemical producers, we at Shell Catalysts & Technologies realize the importance of offering our customers solutions built from a deep understanding of petrochemical value chains that evolve with -- and even drive -- modern industry solutions that solve the challenges of the future. We use our knowledge and expertise to deliver customized solutions today while also developing a roadmap to solve the longer-term industry challenges of tomorrow.

For example, integrating our proprietary Reactor Internal technology solutions with our leading Nickel Specialties catalyst portfolio has proven to deliver immediate results to our customers by improving operational safety, optimizing unit operations and enhancing profitability.

We also have a proven record of helping customers solve big global challenges by developing integrated catalyst and licensed technology solutions that ensure long-term resilience to customers as they navigate the energy transition. A good example of this is given in response to the global sulfur cap on marine fuels mandated by IMO 2020 , where we are actively helping customers meet this challenge through Shell’s leading “Bottom of the Barrel” technology.

The demands of the rapidly evolving global energy and petrochemical landscape often require customers to develop new strategies, many of which focus on deeper integration across the refinery and petrochemical value chains. Shell Catalysts & Technologies recognise the need for a positive legacy that not only helps customers think through emerging strategic dilemmas but also continuously advances our portfolio to ensure customers can better respond and thrive into the future.

Related Article: Energy Evolution for Future Generations

2. Recognising the Power of Partnerships

Producing energy is about working with people, and by working side-by-side with our customers -- through our leading commercial and technical service teams -- Shell Catalysts & Technologies can rapidly respond to customer advice and feedback and collect valuable insights into how to do our jobs better.

Being part of the Shell group continuously provides Shell Catalysts & Technologies with a unique owner-operator experience. This invaluable knowledge and experience, in turn, helps us better understand and solve each customer’s problems. In fact, the pain our customers feel often has parallels with the pain our Shell operating assets feel.

This experience gives us the real-world information we need to always be at the forefront of technology, chemistry, and engineering innovation -- all of which help us figure out important problems across the refining and petrochemical sectors that need solving. By continuously working on a wide funnel of invention and innovation opportunities, Shell Catalysts & Technologies is able to better resolve the myriad of -- oftentimes unique -- obstacles experienced by our customers.

We value partnering with customers. For instance, our world-class catalyst-development capabilities allow us to partner with customers to create complex and unique custom catalyst solutions that target specific petrochemical intermediate steps, allowing these individual customers to create and sustain additional competitive advantages.

Learn More About Petrochemical Catalysts

3. Future Solutions Will Require STEM-Powered R&D

For evidence of how Shell Catalysts & Technologies prioritizes uncovering new and novel technologies, look no further than our diligent and dedicated NBD group, which was specifically created to help solve our customers’ challenges. To build the NBD group, Shell Catalysts & Technologies found and recruited the best experienced hires with excellent backgrounds in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (“STEM”).

Our network of renowned R&D technology centers attracts the best talent and strongest advocates for advancing energy technologies that drive sustainability and reduce emissions and carbon footprints. The NBD group’s commercial and technical teams incorporate their expertise into every solution we sell to our customers.

Shell Catalysts & Technologies is excited about a new generation of men and women pursuing education in STEM. The energy industry needs the best and brightest minds to navigate the many complex problems that refiners face as we move into an era of accelerated digital transformation and pressing environmental issues.

STEM-powered R&D is the key to our future success as a business and stewards of a planet that is becoming increasingly crowded. Together, working in close collaboration with our customers, Shell Catalysts & Technologies is implementing a technology strategy that is built on a complex analysis of short- and long-term objectives that will define the future of our industry. Success is created, and shared, together.

Continue Reading: Investing in the Future of Energy Around the World


1. United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). “Global Chemicals Outlook II.” 2019.