S-Oil lets contract for petrochemical expansion at Ulsan integrated complex

Dec. 16, 2022
Saudi Aramco’s majority owned S-Oil let a contract to Lummus Technology to deliver the first commercial deployment of a new crude-to-chemicals process technology for a petrochemical expansion at the operator’s integrated refining complex in South Korea.

Saudi Aramco’s majority owned S-Oil Corp. has let a contract to Lummus Technology LLC to deliver the first commercial deployment of a new crude-to-chemicals process technology for a massive petrochemical expansion at the operator’s 669,000-b/d integrated refining complex in Ulsan, South Korea.

As part of the Dec. 16 contract, Lummus will license its TC2C thermal crude-to-chemicals technology—jointly developed by Lummus, Saudi Aramco Technologies Co., and Chevron Lummus Global (CLG)—for a new steam cracker to be built as part of S-Oil’s recently approved Shaheen project, the service provider said.

An integrated process that combines Lummus' ethylene technology, Aramco's separation and catalyst technologies, and CLG's hydroprocessing catalysts and reactor technologies, TC2C will equip the new steam cracker to treat the Ulsan refinery’s by-products of naphtha, offgas, and other feedstocks for production of up to 3.2 million tonnes/year (tpy) of petrochemicals, including ethylene, propylene, butadiene, benzene, and other basic chemicals, according to S-Oil and Lummus.

The new Shaheen plant will also produce polyethylene to be used as feedstock for making plastics and other synthetic materials, S-Oil said in a separate release earlier this year.

Scheduled to begin construction in 2023, the Shaheen petrochemical expansion at Ulsan is slated for completion in 2026.

Energy transition focus

The recent contract award follows S-Oil’s announcement on Nov. 17 that it had taken final investment decision (FID) to proceed with the planned $7-billion Shaheen project, which the operator said specifically aims to support the energy transition in South Korea.

Alongside enabling S-Oil’s goal of operating more efficiently by recovering and recycling waste heat from the steam cracker and improving Ulsan’s overall energy efficiency, the new Shaheen cracker’s use of TC2C technology also provides potential for reducing carbon emissions at the site while supporting a stable supply of petrochemical feedstock to the region, the operator said.

Upon completing Shaheen, S-Oil said its volume-based chemical yield will more than double to 25% from its current level of 12%.

In tandem with announcing FID on Shaheen, S-Oil also confirmed awarding a contract for engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC) on the project to a consortium of Hyundai Engineering & Construction Co. Ltd., Hyundai Engineering Co., and Lotte Engineering & Construction Co. Ltd.

Shaheen comes as the second-phase petrochemical expansion at S-Oil’s Ulsan complex, the first phase of which was completed in 2018 and fully commissioned in 2019 at a total investment of $4 billion (OGJ Online, June 26, 2019).

The planned Shaheen expansion will be the largest investment ever in South Korea by Aramco, which via subsidiary Aramco Overseas Co. BV, holds 63.4% ownership interest in S-Oil.