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Hanwha Total expands ethylene production

Hanwha Total Petrochemical has completed the expansion of its ethylene production plant and has begun commercial operation with an aim of generating 590 billion won ($496 million) more in sales each year, the firm said Tuesday.

The petrochemicals firm has injected a combined 540 billion won since April 2017 to complete the side gas cracker of the naphtha cracking center in South Chungcheong Province. The new facilities are capable of producing 310,000 metric tons of ethylene and 130,000 tons of propylene annually. 

(Hanwha Total)
(Hanwha Total)

With the completion of the expansion project, Hanwha Total is capable of producing 1.4 million tons of ethylene and 1.06 million tons of propylene per year. Ethylene and propylene are basic materials used for making petrochemicals such as plastics.

The company said its gas cracker is powered by propane liquefied petroleum gas, which is cheaper than naphtha. It saves around 25 percent of investment costs compared to an existing naphtha cracking center, the company said.

With the economy of scale and improved cost competitiveness, Hanwha Total seeks to overcome fierce competition from ethane cracking centers based on US shale gas and China’s coal-to-olefins and methanol-to-olefins process.

Hanwha Total also seeks to add 150,000 tons of ethylene, 40,000 tons of propylene and 400,000 tons of polypropylene by 2021. To do that, it plans to invest a total of 1.43 trillion won in the facilities, including this gas cracker, by 2021.

“With the completion of the expansion, we will shift our production structure into high-valued products alongside synthetic resins in order to promptly respond to the volatility of the business environment and create stable profits,” said an official of Hanwha Total. 

By Shin Ji-hye (