Minister of Trade, Industry and Energy Sung Yun-mo and related government officials attended a conference joined by representatives of eight local petrochemical companies -- LG Chem, Hyundai Chemical, Kumho Petrochemical, Hanwha Total, Hanwha Chemical, GS Caltex, Yeochun NCC and Lotte Chemical -- at the Yeosu Industrial Complex in South Jeolla Province.
At the conference, the companies expressed grievances about issues such as stricter regulations on nitrogen oxide emissions and the impact of shorter maximum working hours at petrochemical factories that run 24 hours a day, the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy said.
It has, regardless, been a fruitful year for the country’s petrochemical industry, which posted its best-ever figures for exports in the January-September period this year -- $37.7 billion, up 12.4 percent year-on-year, according to data from the Trade Ministry.
LG Chem, the country’s top chemical firm, held a signing ceremony with the South Jeolla provincial government for an agreement to spend 2.6 trillion won to upgrade a naphtha cracking center and other facilities at its factory in Yeosu, promising to hire some 300 workers and purchase locally manufactured goods.
In return, South Jeolla Province and the city of Yeosu will provide administrative support, the ministry said.
|Minister of Trade, Industry and Energy Sung Yun-mo (left) speaks at an investment conference in Yeosu, South Jeolla Province, Monday. (Yonhap)|
Companies in the industry have a number of other plans to increase investment and create jobs: Korea’s second-largest refiner by sales turnover, GS Caltex, plans to invest 2.7 trillion won in a mixed feed cracker in Yeosu and create 500 new jobs; Hyundai Chemical will invest 2.7 trillion won in its heavy feed-based petrochemical complex in Daesan, South Chungcheong Province, and hire 300 people; and S-Oil promised to upgrade its naphtha cracking center in Ulsan, South Gyeongsang Province, a project expected to cost 5 trillion won.
“Suggestions and hurdles will be addressed” between now and the projects’ completion, Sung said, so that “petrochemical firms (can) expedite investment and job creation.”
Sung also requested that companies “take the lead in employment and vitalizing regional economies on continuous investment and innovation.”
Companies, meanwhile, suggested that the government expand sewage disposal, industrial water and electricity infrastructure and address the land shortage to support them in fulfilling their promises.
By Kim Bo-gyung (firstname.lastname@example.org)