The Shaheen petrochemical project in South Korea will feature a steam cracker with a production capacity of 1,800KTA of ethylene, a TC2C facility for converting crude directly into petrochemical feedstock, a polymer facility, and other facilities such as storage tanks


The Shaheen petrochemical project is expected to be ready by 2026. (Credit: S-OIL CORPORATION)

Aramco’s affiliate S-OIL has broken ground on the $7bn Shaheen petrochemical project in Ulsan, South Korea, which will convert crude oil into 3.2 million tons per annum of petrochemical feedstock.

The groundbreaking ceremony of the petrochemical complex was attended by South Korean President Yoon and Aramco President and CEO Amin Nasser.

Announced in November 2022, the Shaheen petrochemical project is said to be an important part of the regional crude to chemicals strategy of Aramco.

The Shaheen project also marks the biggest investment in Korea for the Saudi Arabian energy company to date and is anticipated to be among the largest integrated steam crackers in the world.

Besides, the South Korean petrochemical project is the first major commercial deployment of the company’s thermal crude to chemicals (TC2C) technology, which was jointly developed with Lummus Technology.

Amin Nasser said: “Shaheen is among Aramco’s biggest international downstream investments, representing a significant and sizeable step forward in our liquids-to-chemicals expansion and another major milestone in further strengthening our presence in Korea.”

Aramco holds a majority stake of over 63% in S-OIL through its subsidiary Aramco Overseas.

The Shaheen petrochemical project will feature a steam cracker with a production capacity of 1,800 kilotons per annum (KTA) of ethylene.

Other features of the project include a TC2C facility for converting crude directly into petrochemical feedstock such as LPG and Naphtha, a polymer facility for producing high value petrochemical feedstock for plastics and other synthetic resins, and other facilities such as storage tanks.

The project will also supply monomer products via a pipeline to nearby downstream olefin-processing businesses.

Following the completion of the Shaheen petrochemical project, S-OIL will more than double its petrochemical production to 25% from the current 12% of its total production.

Expected to be completed by 2026, the petrochemical project will involve as many as 17,000 roles during peak construction.