South Korea’s GS Engineering and Construction Corp has signed a contract to expand a Korea Petrochemical Industry Co (KPIC) naphtha cracking plant for 311 billion Korean won ($270 million), the two companies said on Wednesday.
The project will help KPIC expand its ethylene production capacity to 800,000 tonnes per year (tpy) from 490,000 tpy, along with its raising benzene, toluene and xylene production capacity to 300,000 tpy from 220,000 tpy, according to the builder GS E&C in a statement.
A spokesman for KPIC said the completion of the expansion is scheduled for May 2017, with commercial operation set for the second half of that year.
The plant is located at Onsan in the city of Ulsan, about 315 kilometres southeast of Seoul, the GS E&C statement noted.
Asian petrochemical makers are earning near record margins for turning naphtha into ethylene this year as low oil prices cut feedstock costs at the same time that delayed or cancelled projects keep the market undersupplied.