Expansions: QatarEnergy, CPChem break ground on US$8.5 bn polymers plant; Aramco breaks ground on US$7bn Shaheen petchem project in South Korea

QatarEnergy, CPChem break ground on US$8.5 bn polymers plant

QatarEnergy and Chevron Phillips Chemical (CPChem) marked the construction of the US$8.5 billion Golden Triangle polymers plant in Orange County, Texas, US, with a groundbreaking ceremony recently.

Located nearly 180 km east of Houston, the petrochemical facility will feature an ethylene cracker unit with a capacity of 2.08 million tonnes/year, making it the largest in the world, and two high-density polyethylene units with a combined capacity of 2 million tonnes/year, also making them the largest derivatives units of their kind in the world.

The plant is expected to start up in 2026 and will be owned by Golden Triangle Polymers Company LLC, a joint venture in which QatarEnergy holds a 49% equity interest with 51% held by CPChem.

The Golden Triangle polymers plant marks the second biggest investment for QatarEnergy in the US. This is after the more than US$11 billion investment in the Golden Pass LNG production and export facility, which is presently under construction in Sabine Pass, Texas.

The Golden Pass LNG is located nearly 56kms from the Golden Triangle project.

A final investment decision (FID) on the polymers plant in Orange County was taken by QatarEnergy and CPChem in November 2022. Located near CPChem’s existing Orange facility, the new project is expected to create around 4,500 construction jobs and over 500 full-time jobs.

In December 2022, a contract worth EUR250 million was awarded to Technip Energies for delivering cracking furnaces for the ethane cracker at the Gulf Coast project.

Aramco breaks ground on US$7bn Shaheen petchem project in South Korea

Meanwhile in other news, Saudi Aramco recently broke ground on its US$7 billion Shaheen petrochemical project in Ulsan, South Korea, which is being developed by Aramco affiliate S-OIL. Shaheen is Aramco’s biggest investment in South Korea to date and is expected to be one of the largest integrated steam crackers in the world. It is also the first major commercial deployment of Aramco’s thermal crude to chemicals technology, that was developed in collaboration with Lummus Technology.

South Korean President Yoon and Aramco President & CEO Amin H. Nasser attended the groundbreaking ceremony.

Ministers and senior officials from both countries also attended the milestone event. The Shaheen project was announced in November 2022 and is a key part of Aramco’s regional crude to chemicals strategy.

Amin H. Nasser, Aramco President/CEO, 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.”

The company invested US$4 billion in the first phase of the petrochemical expansion, completed in 2018.

Located at S-Oil’s existing site in Ulsan, the new plant will likely produce up to 3.2 million tonnes/year of petrochemicals and include a facility to produce high-value polymers. The project is expected to be completed by 2026.

Aramco holds more than 63% of S-OIL’s shares through its Aramco Overseas Company subsidiary.


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