South Korea's S-Oil, in which Saudi Aramco is the major shareholder, has opened its new $4.2 billion Residue Upgrading Complex and Olefin Downstream Complex.
The inauguration of the complex was celebrated in the presence of HRH Prince Mohammed bin Salman Al Saud, Crown Prince, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Defence, and Moon Jae-in, President of South Korea. Also in attendance were Khalid Abdulaziz Al Falih, Minister of Energy, Industry and Mineral Resources, and Sung Yunmo, Minister of Trade, Industry and Energy of South Korea.
S-Oil is South Korea’s third-largest refiner. The new facilities feature the latest refinery technologies, which have raised S-Oil’s petrochemical portion from 8 per cent to 13 per cent and includes high-value products such as propylene and gasoline, said a statement from Aramco.
The inauguration also included the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) between the two companies to collaborate on a $6 billion Steam Cracker & Olefin Downstream Project which is expected to be completed by 2024.
Saudi Aramco president and chief executive officer Amin H Nasser said: “Today‘s inauguration marks a historic moment for both S-Oil and Saudi Aramco. S-Oil serves as a role model for Saudi Aramco’s international downstream strategy and plays an important role by providing the vital energy needed for economic growth in South Korea.”
“These two new facilities will supply high-value products to major Korean industries, whose global brands are part of our everyday lives and rank among the world’s very best in technology, innovation, creativity, and quality,” he said.
The new world-class steam cracker will produce ethylene and other basic chemicals out of naphtha and refinery off-gas.
This new agreement supports Saudi Aramco’s plan to increase its global petrochemicals footprint over the next decade. It will further include the deployment of Saudi Aramco’s Thermal Crude-to-Chemicals Technology, shifting S-Oil’s focus from “oil to chemicals” to better position the company in the future energy market.
Saudi Aramco initially invested in S-Oil in 1991, and their relationship continues to grow stronger, with the refining capacity increasing from 90,000 bpd in 1990 to roughly 700,000 bpd in 2018.