S-Oil’s residue upgrading complex in, Ulsan. Courtesy of S-Oil.

Refiner makes history with mega-sized facilities

S-Oil, a top-tier refiner in Korea, strives to achieve a quantum leap once again by expanding its petrochemical business based on two new facilities of Residue Upgrading Complex (RUC) and Olefin Downstream Complex (ODC).

The former takes advantage of the latest refinery technology to enable the latter to churn out materials used for automobiles, electronic products, insulators, and plastics.

On June 26, S-Oil held an event to celebrate the completion of the facilities at the Hotel Shilla in downtown Seoul. Korean President Moon Jae-in and Mohammad bin Salman, the crown prince of Saudi Arabia, took part in the gathering.

S-Oil poured more than $4 billion to build the two facilities to beef up the petrochemical side of its operations.

The Seoul-based company joined hands with Korean builders like Daelim Industrial and Daewoo E&C to establish the mega-sized facilities in its refinery complex in Ulsan, some 300 kilometers southeast of Seoul.

It took three years for S-Oil to finish the project, which encompasses almost 490,000 square meters of land, or the size of 68 football fields.

Through this project, we will be able to significantly improve profitability and also secure the industry-leading competitiveness by converting low-value residue to high-value products: gasoline and olefine downstream product,” an S-oil official said.

This is not the first time for S-Oil blaze a trail in the petrochemical business since 1991 when Saudi Aramco acquired the company, which was founded midway through the 1970s.

The outfit introduced a bunker-c cracking center to expand domestic refining industry as an exportation business. The successful operation of its No. 2 aromatics complex also led the change of the whole industry.

Now, the company attempts to make history again with the RUC/OCD facilities and plans to shell out almost $6 billion more to further increase its competitive edge by 2024, according to the company’s new announcement on June 26 on the sideline of the celebration event.

Then, the refiner is expected to get close to its “Vision 2025,” – it has vowed to become the top energy/chemical company in the Asia-Pacific region.

Of note is that S-Oil presented the vision in front of Saudi Arabian crown prince, who is also scheduled to partake in the G20 Summit in Japan later this week.

S-Oil’s owner Aramco is a Saudi Arabian national petroleum and gas company.

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