S-Oil starts up RUC-ODC project at Ulsan integrated complex

Saudi Aramco is advancing its global chemicals growth strategy with inauguration of S-Oil’s first phase of its new residue upgrading complex and olefin downstream complex at its integrated refining and petrochemical operations in Ulsan, South Korea.

Jun 26th, 2019

Saudi Aramco is advancing its global chemicals growth strategy with inauguration of S-Oil Corp.’s first phase of its new residue upgrading complex (RUC) and olefin downstream complex (ODC) at its integrated refining and petrochemical operations in Ulsan, South Korea (OGJ Online, June 20, 2017).

Officially inaugurated on June 26, the new complex features the latest refinery technologies, which have raised S-Oil’s petrochemical portion to 13% from 8% and includes production of propylene and gasoline, Aramco said.

As originally planned, the RUC was to add a 63,000-b/d residue hydrodesulfurization (Hyvahl) unit as well as the 76,000-b/d high-severity residue fluid catalytic cracker to produce gasoline (21,000 b/d), alkylate (14,000 b/d), and methyl tertiary butyl ether (370,000 tonnes/year), while the ODC was to add a 405,000-tonne/year polypropylene plant and 300,000-tpy propylene oxide plant.

The June 26 inauguration of RUC-ODC also included signing of a memorandum of understanding (MOU) between the two companies to collaborate on Phase 2 of the complex, which will involve construction of a $6-billion, 1.5 million-tpy mixed-feed steam cracker and olefins downstream project scheduled to be completed by 2024 (OGJ Online, Aug. 29, 2018).

Aramco said the Phase 2 agreement supports the company’s plan to increase its global petrochemicals footprint over the next decade, including deployment of its proprietary thermal crude-to-chemicals technology to help shift S-OIL's focus from oil-to-chemicals to better position the company in the future energy market.

Aramco subsidiary Aramco Overseas Co. is a major shareholder in S-Oil, which is South Korea's third-largest refiner.

South Korean plans

The Ulsan inauguration comes the same day as Aramco signed 12 agreements worth billions of dollars with other South Korean partners covering ship building, engine manufacturing, refining, petrochemicals, as well as crude supply, sales, and storage.

Aramco said the agreements come as part of its long-term downstream growth and diversification strategy’s program to reinforce relationships with South Korea, expand international operations, and support the region's energy security with the expansion of Arabian crude oil supply to Asian markets.

“Today's agreements mark a new era of cooperation with our Korean partners who will play an increasingly important role in our strategy to capitalize on new initiatives that include long-term energy supply, maritime and infrastructure development, and breakthrough research and development in the automotive, crude to chemicals, and non-metallic sectors," said Amin H. Nasser, Aramco’s president and chief executive officer.

The series of agreements include the following:

• An agreement between Aramco, Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI), and Saudi Arabian Industrial Investments Co. (Dussur) establishing a joint venture for an engine manufacturing and aftersales facility in Saudi Arabia in which Aramco will hold a 55% interest, with HHI and Dussur owning the remaining 30% and 15%, respectively.

• An MOU between Aramco and HHI that extends the existing collaboration to develop ship building, engine manufacturing, refining, and petrochemicals.

• An agreement between Aramco and HHI to increase HHI’s equity share in the International Maritime Industries (IMI) to 20% from 10%.

• An MOU between HHI, Bahri, and IMI—a JV between Aramco, HHI, Lamprell, and Bahri—covering ship building and transportation as potential areas of cooperation.

• An MOU between HHI and IMI to explore business opportunities in the shipbuilding business.

• A crude oil sales agreement between Aramco and Hyundai Oilbank for Aramco to supply Arabian crude oil to Hyundai Oilbank.

• An agreement for Aramco Trading to supply non-Arabian crude oil to Hyundai Oilbank.

• An MOU between Aramco and Hyundai Motor Co. to create a strategic collaboration to accelerate the expansion of the hydrogen ecosystem in the Saudi Arabian and South Korean markets, as well as to explore the use of advanced nonmetallic materials in various fields, including the automotive industry.

• An MOU between Aramco and Korea National Oil Corp. that will allow Aramco to explore the potential of crude oil storage in South Korea to complement its marketing and supply activities.

• An MOU with Hyosung Group to build a carbon fiber manufacturing plant in Saudi Arabia that also provides for a collaboration platform for the two companies on research and development, and deployment of carbon fiber technology.

• An MOU between Aramco and GS Holdings aimed at identifying specific investment opportunities in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

• An agreement between Aramco and Daelim Industrial to collaborate on petrochemical projects, including a new MOU to foster collaboration on chemical products in the kingdom.

Contact Robert Brelsford at rbrelsford@endeavorb2b.com.

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