Petrochemical Back-Integration Hyundai Chemical Expands South Korean Petrochemical Complex

Editor: Dominik Stephan

Hyundai’s Chemical branch plans to add a xylenes production line to its petrochemicals complex in Daesan Republic, South Korea. This expansion would allow the site to make its own feedstock material to boost profitability.

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(Picture: Gerd Altmann (CC0))

Seoul/South Korea – Hyundai uses Honeywell UOP technology as well as modular process equipment to allow the plant to produce para-xylene, a building block for synthetic fibers, packaging and plastics that is in high demand in Asia.

Back-integrating the facility to make its own feedstock will reduce the plant’s dependence on imports of mixed xylenes and its exposure to the volatile market for the feedstock. The plant currently uses Honeywell UOP technology to produce para-xylene.

“Back-integrating this plant will allow Hyundai Chemical to better manage its operations and make it a more competitive player in the market for para-xylene,” said Mike Millard, vice president and general manager of Honeywell UOP’s Process Technology and Equipment business. “Using modular equipment for the project ensures that the expansion will be operational sooner than if the equipment were built on site.” Modular equipment like the one of Honeywell UOP is built under controlled conditions in fabrication shops and fully inspected prior to shipment, enabling fast-track delivery, quality assurance and compliance with specifications. The modules are designed to reduce installation time and can result in earlier startup, further improving project economics.

Back Integration for Petrochemical Production

The expansion project will specifically allow the complex to convert naphtha – an intermediate product produced in the oil refining process – into 1 million metric tons per year of mixed-xylenes. Hyundai Chemical selected Honeywell UOP equipment and technology for the expansion due to the efficient and reliable performance of its Parex and Isomar processes for para-xylene production, which Hyundai Cosmo Petrochemical, a joint venture between Hyundai Oilbank and Cosmo Oil, licensed in 2010.

In addition to licensing, Honeywell UOP will provide the basic engineering, commissioning services, training services, proprietary equipment, catalysts and adsorbents for the new portion of the complex, which is expected to come online in 2016.

Honeywell UOP technologies licensed for the expansion include:

  • The Coker Naphtha Hydrotreating process to pre-treat reforming feed. The end product will also be used as a gasoline blend stock and as feedstock for petrochemicals production.
  • The Merox process to remove contaminants from liquefied petroleum gases for further downstream processing.
  • The Distillate Unionfining process to improve the quality of distillate boiling-range feedstocks to help meet tougher product specifications.
  • The CCR Platforming process to produce high-octane blending components for gasoline and as a feed for aromatics production. This technology will be delivered as a modular unit.
  • The Extractive Distillation (ED) Sulfolane process to recover high-purity benzene and toluene.
  • The Tatoray process to increase production of benzene and xylenes.
  • The Polybed PSA process to recover and purify hydrogen used in downstream processing. This technology will also be delivered as a modular unit.