Shaheen Project is an under-construction petrochemical facility in Ulsan, South Korea.

With an expected production capacity of up to 3.2 million tonnes of petrochemicals per year, the facility will be one of the largest refinery integrated petrochemical steam crackers in the world. This follows a $4bn petrochemical expansion that was completed in 2018.

The Shaheen project is owned by Saudi Aramco-affiliate S-Oil Corporation. Aramco holds 63.4% of S-Oil’s shares via its subsidiary Aramco Overseas Company (AOC).

The Final Investment Decision (FID) on the project was taken by S-Oil in November 2022.

The petrochemical project is being developed with a total investment of $7bn, representing Aramco’s largest investment in Korea.

Construction work commenced with a groundbreaking ceremony in March 2023. The project is expected to be completed in 2026.

Location details

The Shaheen Petrochemical Project will be located at the Onsan Industrial Complex in Ulsan city in South Korea.

The facility will be situated at S-Oil’s existing site in Ulsan in existing land.

Shaheen Petrochemical Project details

The Shaheen Petrochemical Project’s major units will include a steam cracker to produce ethylene; a TC2C facility which will convert crude directly into petrochemical feedstock such as Naphtha and LPG; a polymer facility to make high value petrochemical feedstock for plastics and other synthetic resins.

The facility will also have storage tanks.

According to S-Oil, Shaheen’s steam cracker will be the world’s largest with a production capacity of 1,800 kilo tonnes per annum (kta) of ethylene. It will also recycle waste heat for power generation in the refinery.

The project will also be the first to leverage thermal crude to chemicals technology (TC2C) developed by Aramco.

The TC2C technology enables converting crude oil into petrochemical products and maximises the production yield of petrochemical raw material naphtha. Additionally, the use of TC2C technology will help in reducing carbon emissions.

The existing refinery facility will process crude and heavy oil through TC2C and convert these into by-products such as Naphtha and LPG.

The by-products from crude processing will be processed further by the steam cracker to produce ethylene.

The petrochemical project will also produce propylene, butadiene, benzene and other basic chemicals.

Overall, Shaheen project will produce 580kta of ethylene, 770kta of propylene, 200kta of butadiene (200kta) and 280kta of benzene.

The project will also include an 880kta linear low density polyethylene (LLDPE) unit and a 440kta high density polyethylene (HDPE) unit.

Once complete, Shaheen Petrochemical Project will more than double S-Oil’s petrochemical production from the current level of 12% to 25% of total production. The development of the project is also aligned with Aramco’s strategy to maximise the crude to chemicals value chain.

The project is expected to create 17,000 jobs during peak construction. After operational, it will support more than 400 jobs benefitting the local economy.

Shaheen project will ensure stable supply of petrochemical feedstock to South Korea as well as help in meeting a gradual increase in global demand for petrochemical products.

Contractors Involved

In November 2022, Hyundai Engineering & Construction (E&C), Hyundai Engineering and Lotte E&C signed the Engineering, Procurement, and Construction (EPC) contract for the Shaheen Petrochemical Project.

Under the terms of the contract, the consortium of three entities will carry out the project with Hyundai E&C as lead manager.

Hyundai E&C and Hyundai Engineering will construct the steam cracker and Olefin Downstream facility that will produce petrochemical products such as polyethylene.

Lummus Technology received the contract to deliver Lummus and Chevron Lummus Global (CLG) technologies to process crude into ethylene, propylene, butadiene and other basic chemicals.