Domestic petrochemical companies and oil refineries in South Korea are apparently initiating the expansion of their ethylene production capacity, based on a forecast that the demand of ethylene would accelerate in the coming years. As per industry analysts, the production of ethylene in South Korea is expected to increase by more than 50% in the next five years, from approx. 9 million tons to about 13.8 million tons a year.
S-OIL, reliable sources confirmed, is conducting a feasibility study on its plan to construct a facility at its Onsan plant in Ulsan by 2023, which would have a yearly production capacity of 1.5 million tons. S-OIL would become the fourth largest domestic ethylene producer, if the 5 trillion won project is completed as scheduled, sources further mentioned.
Yeochun NCC, apparently, is also planning to increase the production of ethylene from 1.95 million tons currently to 2.285 million tons annually. Another company, LG Chem has reportedly announced that it will increase its production capacity by 800,000 tons and 300,000 tons in its Yeosu and Daesan plants respectively by 2021.
Records also show that Lotte Chemical is, simultaneously, increasing Yeosu NCC’s production capacity by 200,000 tons and developing an ethanol cracking facility in Louisiana, the United States. As soon as its U.S. facility will go live, total yearly production of ethylene by the company will reach to 4.5 million tons. Hyundai Oilbank recently disclosed that it will set up a facility in S Korea with Lotte Chemical to produce 750,000 tons of ethylene per year.
Citing industry experts, the massive expansion of ethylene production in South Korea has been also influenced by the production facilities being built in the rest of Asia. There are increased concerns that the ECC products made in North America, which are not yet being imported to Asia, could soon find their way into the region.