SK Global Chemical, the subsidiary of SK Innovation, and Saudi Arabia government-run company and the world’s second largest chemical company, SABIC, inaugurated a new polyethylene plant in Ulsan, Korea on Oct. 8. The plant will produce a range of high-performance polyethylene products using cutting-edge Nexlene Solution Technology.
The opening ceremony was attended by SABIC Chairman Prince Saud Bin Abdullah Bin Thinayan Al-Saud, Acting Vice Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Yousef A. Al-Benyan, and Executive Vice Presidents Abdulrahman Al-Fageeh and Yousef Al-Zamel.
SK was represented by Group Chairman Chey Tae-won, SK Innovation CEO Chung Chul-khil, and Cha Hwa-youp, SK Global Chemical CEO. Also in attendance were Trade, Industry and Energy Minister Yoon Sang-jick and Ulsan Mayor Kim Gi-hyeon.
The plant, owned by the 50-50 joint venture SABIC SK Nexlene (SSNC), which was established in last July and headquartered in Singapore, will produce 230,000 tons of Nexlene annually.
Designed to operate exclusively with SK’s own technology, the aggregate price for the technology and plant is worth approximately US$640 million.
In comparison to existing polyethylene products in the market such as industrial packaging film, interior materials for automobiles and shoes, and cable sheathing, Nexlene is more shock-resistant, transparent, machine-friendly, and hygienic as a more advanced type of polyethylene, according to SK.
Joining hands with Saudi’s leading diversified chemicals company, SK has effectively embarked onto the global polyethylene market currently dominated by Dow Chemical, ExxonMobil and Mitsui Chemicals.
“With the goal of raising its annual production capacity to more than 1 million tons, SSNC is planning to build an additional plant in Saudi Arabia and further expand its production bases worldwide in the years to come,” said the SK Group chairman Chey Tae-won.
“The new plant marks an important milestone in SABIC’s goal to develop and invest in groundbreaking technologies and innovations in partnership with global industry leaders like SK,” said SABIC Chairman Saud bin Abdullah bin Thenayan Al-Saud.
Meanwhile, the SK-SABIC's Ulsan plant marks the completion of SK’s efforts to form four major partnerships with leading global energy companies.
As an example, in addition to SABIC, SK has so far built new joint ventures with China’s government-run Sinopec, Japan’s JX Nippon Oil & Energy, and Spain’s largest oil and gas company Repsol to spearhead its push into the global premium petrochemicals market.
“We will continue to pursue more global partnerships with major overseas firms to create more successful joint ventures in the future,” said SK Innovation CEO Chung Chul-khil.