SABIC and SK Geo Centric plan joint investment to construct, expand high-performance polyolefin elastomer plants in Ulsan, South Korea, supporting markets including automotive, solar energy; capacity to reach 300,000 tons/year by 2024, mostly for export

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August 29, 2022 (press release) –

 

  • On August 23rd, SSNC, the JV of SK Geo Centric and Saudi Arabia’s SABIC, signed an MOU with the Ulsan Metropolitan City to build and expand POE plants
  • The plants are expected to produce high-value materials that are used in cars and solar panel films, and are expected to reduce the usage of plastics and positively impact the environment
  • Annual capacity is expected to be 300,000 tons in 2024, and over 90% will be exported, bringing expectations for a vitalization in the regional economy

SK Geo Centric will partner with Saudi Arabia’s global chemical company SABIC for a joint investment in a bid to achieve dominance in the market for high-performance chemical products as their demands grow. SK Geo Centric’s technology and SABIC’s competitiveness for its raw materials will bring about synergy in the high-performance chemical products.

SK Geo Centric said that SABIC SK Nexlene Company (SSNC), which is a joint venture established with SABIC, signed an MOU with Ulsan Metropolitan City on the 23rd at the Ulsan Metropolitan City Hall to invest in the construction and expansion of high-value chemical products plants.

Following the MOU between the two, SSNC will invest approximately KRW 200 billion through Korea Nexlene, its South Korean subsidiary, by July 2024, in the 1,322㎡ of land located at 1, Sapyeong-ro, Cheongnyang-eup, Ulju-gun, Ulsan, South Korea, to build and expand the plants for producing the high-performance polyolefin elastomer (POE).

SSNC is a joint venture established last 2015 between SK Geo Centric and SABIC. Korea Nexlene is a wholly-owned subsidiary of SSNC. SSNC has invested a total of KRW 605.1 billion in Korea Nexlene to establish 68,100㎡ size of plant, and it has been annually producing 210,000 tons of Nexlene products. Following the expansion of these plants and construction for more, the capacity is expected to increase by 43%, reaching over 300,000 tons. More than 90% of the production is expected to be exported.

The signing ceremony was attended by Mayor of Ulsan Kim Doo-gyeom, SSNC Chairman Sami Mohammed Al-Osaimi, and SSNC CEO Lee Tae-keun. Following the MOU, SSNC and Ulsan agreed to closely cooperate in vitalizing the regional economy, which is expected to happen as a result of the expansion of the global supply of high-performance chemical product Nexlene.

Nexlene is a high-performance product developed by SK Geo Centric in 2010 using ethylene as its raw material. The product, which means “the chemical product for the next generation,” became the first-ever product in Korea to use locally-produced technologies in all of its processes. Compared to ordinary polyethylene products, it is cleaner, more transparent, and more durable. Also, because of its excellent density range, it can easily undergo secondary processing to be made into other products. The decision to additionally construct plants was made to preemptively respond to the rising demands of high-value eco-friendly materials for finished cars and solar panels.

Korea Nexlene is currently producing high-performance products which utilize Nexlene. These include the linear low-density polyethylene (LLDPE), polyolefin plastomers (POP), and polyolefin elastomers (POE). For a long time, Dow Chemical Company and other international petrochemical corporates have been monopolizing the industry. However, Nexlene Korea’s excellent high-performance product development is shattering the monopolistic structure and advancing forward in the market.

POE boasts extreme levels of elasticity and impact resistance, so it is used to strengthen plastic components to make cars lighter. Moreover, since it can reduce power loss compared to other products, it is also used to produce films for solar panels. POP, on the other hand, is used in medical and food packages for its excellent hygiene and sealing capacity. It blocks contact with foreign materials, expanding the quality maintenance period of the products made out of it. Given that these high-performance chemical products (POE and POP) can be used in various fields, their markets are expected to grow by 5% every year.

CEO Kim Jong-yl of Korea Nexlene said, “Nexlene’s self-developed high-value products are used in automotive lightweight materials, solar panels materials, medical packing materials, and so on. Therefore, we are glad to announce this investment, which will enable us to take lead in global supply.” “We will do our best to ensure that Nexlen’s excellent product power as well as the advantages of eco-friendly effects are recognized in the global market,” he added.

Mayor of Ulsan Kim Doo-gyeom said, “SSNC’s investment decision is expected to greatly contribute to restoring Ulsan’s status as an industrial capital through the development of key industries and vitalization of the local economy.” “I will make sure that the administrative assistances are well provided so that the plants construction can be carried out smoothly.”

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