S-Oil is slated to hold an inauguration ceremony to celebrate the successful completion and beginning of operations of its residue upgrading complex and olefin downstream complex, or RUC and ODC, built at a cost of 5 trillion won (US$4.3 billion). The RUC/ODC project, which began operations in November last year, relies on low-value residue oil as feedstock to produce high-value petrochemical products.
The project is also expected to provide a critical foothold to expand further into olefin downstream at the same time.
The RUC/ODC complex comprises four units:
Residue hydro-desulfurization unit,
High severity fluid catalytic cracking unit,
Propylene oxide plant,
The residue hydro-desulfurization unit involves a catalytic chemical process that uses hydrogen to remove sulfur and impurities in the residue, such as high-sulfur Bunker-C or asphalt, produced from the refining process of crude oil. This process produces feedstock for the downstream process of high severity fluid catalytic cracking.
The high severity fluid catalytic cracking unit is a core facility that produces gasoline and propylene from the desulfurized residue. Saudi Aramco, King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals and JX Nippon have developed the technology, and S-Oil was the first to commercialize it. The new, advanced technology has increased the yield of propylene to 25 percent, according to the company. The propylene oxide plant boasts high cost efficiency, and its propylene oxide produced from the plant has successfully replaced imported propylene oxide, which meets about half of Korea’s demand. Propylene oxide is a key raw material for manufacturing polyurethane, which is used in applications such as cars, furniture and construction. The polypropylene plant produces 405,000 tons of polypropylene in a year by polymerizing propylene from the residue upgrading complex with over 70% to be exported.