Four major oil refining companies in Korea – SK Innovation, GS Caltex, S-Oil, and Hyundai Oil Bank – are diversifying their business portfolio so as to reduce their dependence upon their traditional field.
For example, SK Innovation is concentrating on paraxylene production and electric vehicle (EV) battery manufacturing in order to deal with the decreasing oil refining margin. It is planning to increase its annual paraxylene production volume by 2.6 million tons, by building two more plants. At the same time, it is planning on a huge investment in the EV battery industry this year.
SK Innovation established a joint corporation with Beijing Automotive Industry Holding last year. It is going to supply its batteries manufactured in Seosan, South Chungcheong Province to the corporation, while setting up an additional factory in China in the event of increasing orders. The company is paying much attention to patent issues, too. It has hired a number of patent specialists since its lawsuit against LG Chem surrounding EV battery separation membrane technology.
In the meantime, GS Caltex is mulling over paraxylene facility expansion in Showa-Shell. The former built a synthetic resin production plant in the Czech Republic last year.
Hyundai Oil Bank is striving to increase its presence in the chemical and lubricant industries. It is cooperating with Lotte Chemical in the former and with Shell in the latter.
S-Oil is going to build the first technical service and development (TS&D) center in the local oil refining industry in the Magok Industrial Complex located in Seoul. The 30,000 m2-wide R&D center is staffed with both in-house chemical engineers and external personnel.