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Korea’s GS Caltex to debottleneck Yeosu cracker in Sep

  • Market: Petrochemicals
  • 04/07/24

South Korea's petrochemical producer GS Caltex is expected to start a two-month scheduled maintenance and debottlenecking at its mixed-feed cracker in Yeosu in September.

The cracker will undergo a turnaround and debottlenecking from 23 September to 25 November, according to sources at the company. GS Caltex's mixed-feed cracker currently has a nameplate capacity of 750,000 t/yr of ethylene and 410,000 t/yr of propylene. Its ethylene capacity will increase by 150,000 t/yr to 900,000 t/yr after the debottlenecking process, while propylene capacity will rise by 60,000 t/yr to 470,000 t/yr.

The debottlenecking process will also raise GS Caltex's crude C4s output from the existing 250,000 t/yr to 300,000 t/yr. The company now feeds its crude C4s to a 90,000 t/yr butadiene extraction unit, a joint venture (JV) plant between GS Caltex's parent company GS Energy and fellow producer Lotte Chemical.

GS Caltex also owns two polymers units at the same site — a 500,000 t/yr high density polyethylene (HDPE) and a 180,000 t/yr polypropylene (PP) plant. The PP unit takes in propylene from GS Caltex's existing refinery fluid catalytic crackers (FCC).

The debottlenecking will raise olefins output, resulting in a surplus of 400,000 t/yr of ethylene for domestic sales and exports after supplying its HDPE plant. The propylene surplus will be 800,000 t/yr after factoring in GS Caltex's 500,000 t/yr propylene output from existing FCCs and its PP consumption.

This will also mark the first turnaround of GS Caltex's cracker since it was commissioned in 2021. GS Caltex's mixed feed cracker can take in a combination of naphtha, liquefied petroleum gas and off-gas from its FCC.

New derivative units

GS Energy also plans to bring two more new downstream units on line, after the cracker maintenances.

GS Energy and Lotte Chemical aims to start-up their new 350,000/215,000 t/yr phenol/acetone plant and 240,000 t/yr bis-phenol A unit in the fourth quarter of this year. Feedstock propylene will come from an existing GS Caltex cracker.

Another JV between GS Energy and Hanwha Solutions will be a new 300,000 t/yr ethylene vinyl acetate (EVA) plant. It aims to start up in September 2025, and the feedstock ethylene for the EVA unit will also come from GS Caltex's existing cracker.


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