Saudi Aramco affiliate S-Oil to build petrochemical steam cracker facility in S.Korea

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Saudi Aramco affiliate S-Oil plans to build one of the world’s largest petrochemical steam cracker facilities in South Korea, the official Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported on Thursday.

The project, Shaheen, is worth $7 billion and aims to use innovative technology for the very first time to convert crude oil into petrochemical raw materials.

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Located at S-Oil’s existing site in South Korea’s Ulsan, the new plant is expected to have a production capacity of up to 3.2 million tons of petrochemicals per year.

“Saudi Aramco’s investment in the Shaheen project in South Korea is a quantum leap and a new phase in the company’s refining and chemicals sector, as it embodies our ambitious projects and future technical innovations,” said Saudi Aramco’s President and CEO Amin bin Hassan al-Nasser.

“In the Shaheen project, Saudi Aramco is applying new technologies that were invented in its global research centers and used for the first time in the world to convert oil directly into chemicals, which will contribute to redrawing the global petrochemical landscape and enhance the value chain by increasing the integration of refining and chemicals business, at a time of increasing projected demand around the world,” he added.

The new facility will use mixed feedstocks, outperforming naphtha-based crackers in terms of overall efficiency and performance.

The company’s CEO also praised Saudi Arabia and South Korea’s friendly, long-standing bilateral relationship, highlighting that the Shaheen project further consolidates the two nations’ distinguished investment and strategic relationship.

The Shaheen project is expected to begin next year and be completed by 2026, SPA reported, adding that S-Oil’s chemical yield based on volume could almost double to 25 percent upon the project’s completion.

“The project marks the first large-scale use of Saudi Aramco’s crude oil-to-chemicals cracking technology and demonstrates how, through better design, we can contribute to a shift to more efficient and sustainable production processes,” said Saudi Aramco Senior Vice President – Downstream, Mohammed bin Yahya al-Qahtani.

The announcement comes during Saudi Arabia’s Prime Minister and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s visit to Seoul – the second stop on his Asia trip.

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