South Korea’s Land Minister Won Hee-ryong, third from left in the back row, pose with officials of Saudi Arabia’s Aramco after signing an agreement on Hyundai E&C’s construction of the Amiral petrochemical plant. Photo courtesy of Hyundai E&C

Korean contractor winning mega-sized project in Middle East

South Korea’s Hyundai Engineering & Construction (E&C) said on June 25 that it had inked $5 billion construction contracts with Saudi Arabia’s state-run oil company Aramco.

Under the deal, South Korea’s largest contractor will take part in the Amiral project of building Saudi Arabia’s largest petrochemical plant in the Jubail region, some 380 kilometers northwest of Riyadh.

Headed by Aramco and French oil giant Total, the Amiral project is about setting up facilities, which produce such chemical products as ethylene and propylene from low-value byproducts of oil refining.

The project is composed of four packages, and Hyundai E&C will take charge of two _ a facility rolling out 1.65 million tons of ethylene a year and major infrastructure for storage and shipping.

“Hyundai E&C will execute the detailed design, procurement, construction, commissioning, and start-up activities on a lump-sum turn-key basis with a contract value of around $5 billion,” a Hyundai E&C representative said.

In terms of values, it marks South Korea’s seventh-largest construction project ever outside of the country and the biggest in Saudi Arabia.

South Korea hopes that there will be more mega-sized projects to win in Saudi Arabia in line with the promises of Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

During his visit to Seoul late last year, he agreed to expand cooperation on mega-sized projects, which would be worth $30 billion, in a meeting with South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol.

Indeed, Aramco’s affiliate S-Oil broke ground early this year on a $7 billion petrochemical project in South Korea.

South Korea expects that its corporations will be able to take part in the NEOM project of building $500 billion futuristic city in the Middle East country.

First proposed in 2017, the project is about creating a 105-mile-long linear city in the country’s desert area, which will be completely run on renewable energy.