Engineering News

Reports: Hanwha Eyes US Ethylene Plant
February 7, 2013 @ 8:57 AM

Hanwha Chemical (Seoul) plans to build an ethylene plant in the United States in collaboration with a local shale gas company, according to Korean press reports, citing an unnamed source. "We are in talks with a US shale gas company, but negotiations have yet to take shape," the Hanwha official said. Further details were not disclosed.

The report reflects continued confidence in the natural gas-driven revitalization of the US chemical industry. US producers have now announced plans for more than 10 million m.t./year of ethylene capacity by the end of this decade, a 30% increase from current levels.

Seven US crackers have been announced so far and several others remain under consideration. Chevron Phillips Chemical, Dow Chemical, ExxonMobil Chemical, Formosa, OxyChem, Sasol, and Shell Chemicals have formally announced plans to build US crackers. Most companies are now in the engineering and permitting phrase with construction on some projects, including Chevron Phillips and ExxonMobil, expected to begin later this year.

Hanwha has been pushing to expand operations to overseas markets. It has a 25% share in a 200,000-m.t./year ethylene vinyl acetate and low-density polyethylene project being built at Al Jubail. Sipchem has 75% in the joint venture. Sipchem and Hanwha are also investing in a downstream equally-owned jv, which will produce special compounds for the wire and cable industry.

Separately, the Oman Daily Observer reports that Hanwha Engineering & Construction Corp. (Seoul) has started work on a chlor-alkali and ethylene dichloride (EDC) complex in Salalah Free Zone, Oman on behalf of Saltic (Muscat). Hanwha was awarded the engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC) contract last November. Saltic is investing an estimated $500-600 million to build the complex, which will produce 1,000 m.t./day of caustic soda and 1,231 m.t./day of EDC.

Work has started after more than three years of build-up to the project, and completion is now expected for the fourth quarter of 2014, with commissioning in the first quarter of 2015, the report says. Al Ez Trading Transport & Contracting Co. (Salalah) is carrying out site works at the project's 35-hectare plot in the Salalah zone.

The Salalah port is building a liquids jetty, expanding its infrastructure to handle imports of ethylene for the Saltic venture. Facilities for the discharge of liquid ethylene at berth will be built by Hanwha as part of its EPC brief, the report says. A new cargo terminal will serve imports of feedstock salt as well as exports, the report adds.

Source: Chemical Week

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