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DMEA: Building begins on Shaheen project

A ceremony was held last week in Ulsan, South Korea, to mark the start of work on the $7bn Shaheen integrated petrochemical plant located in Onsan Industrial Complex.

South Korean major S-Oil Corp. plans to start commercial operation of the plant in 2026, and noted that the facility will produce around 3.2mn tonnes per year (tpy) of petrochemical products including ethylene, propylene benzene and butadiene from feedstocks naphtha and off-gas.

The plant, Shaheen – the Arabic word for falcon – is funded by Saudi Aramco Overseas (a subsidiary of Saudi Aramco) which holds a 63.4% stake in S-Oil. The project is Saudi Arabia’s largest investment in South Korea to date, and was finalised during South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol’s meeting with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in Seoul last November.

The plant will also contain a thermal crude-to-chemical (TC2C) facility, which will convert crude into petrochemical feedstocks such as LPG and naphtha, as well as various other facilities such as storage tanks.

“The giant petrochemical plant will help S-Oil diversify its business portfolio from crude to chemicals for innovative growth, and will raise S-Oil’s petrochemical portion to 25% by 2030 from the current level of 12%, playing a pivotal role in diversifying its fuel-weighted business.” S-Oil said in a statement. The project also aims to solidify S-Oil’s move towards becoming a “clean energy and petrochemicals company” along with progressing its broader carbon neutrality goal.