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SK Energy upgrades polymer production

May 25/2010

ULSAN (JoongAng Daily) -- SK Energy, the nations biggest oil refiner, is building the worlds first naphtha-cracking factory using advanced catalytic olefin, or ACO, technology, in the southeastern city of Ulsan, the company said yesterday. The factory is expected to start operating in October.


A naphtha-cracking factory produces basic petrochemical materials using naphtha refined from crude oil. The pyrolysing process in the past consumed a lot of energy as it needed high heat, up to 1,000 degrees Celsius (1,800 degrees Fahrenheit). SK Energy said it had developed the technology to use a catalyst that lowers the temperature to under 700 degrees Celsius, however.


Older technology usually produced ethylene and a small amount of propylene, for which demand is growing globally. Using the ACO technology, the plant is able to produce equal amounts of ethylene and propylene. Polyethylene, combined with ethylene, is used in making vinyl, while polyethylene mixed with propylene is used for plastic containers.


SK Energy is planning to export the technology overseas at a price of $20 million in royalty payments per plant. It already signed a strategic partnership with KBR, a United States-based petrochemical engineering company, in 2007.


The company plans to build a small factory with a 30 billion won ($25 million) budget and plans to expand its facilities. Analysts predict that several trillion won in investments will be made.

SK Energy upgrades polymer production

















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