The company becomes the first Korean builder to enter the PDH Feed market in Europe by signing Feed agreement for the construction of PDH plant in the Antwerp Petrochemical Complex for INEOS of Belgium
A slew of key executives of SK E&C led by SK E&C President Ahn Jae-hyun and CEO Kim Cheol-jin of SK Advanced and INEOS led by Chairman Gerd Franken and President John McNally of INEOS Project One are seen in a photo session after signing an agreement with SK E&C in London on July 17. (Photo: SK E&C)
SK Engineering and Construction Co. achieved what no other Korean construction firm had done: It successfully entered the PDH plant market in Western Europe by winning the Propane Dehydrogeneration (PDH) Feed (Front End Engineering Design) Project.
SK E&C said June 18 that it signed a Feed agreement for the construction of the PDH plant in the Antwerp Petrochemical Complex with INEOS of Belgium, becoming the first Korean construction firm to do so.
The PDH is a plant process to produce propylene by eliminating hydrogen from propane gas so that propylene will be made into polypropylene, which is then used as a raw material for packaging films, adhesive tapes, textile and carpets, among others.
Polypropylene and ethylene are the basic raw materials for petrochemical products, making them key elements for the petrochemical industry. By winning the PDH Feed Project, SK E&C has put itself in a good position to win further EPC projects by becoming the priority bidder.
The largest chemical plants in the world have been expanding their PDH facilities to cope with the rising demand for those basic raw materials.
SK E&C will build the PDH Feed Project within 12 months at the Antwerp Petrochemical Complex, located some 50 km north from Brussels, with the annual capacity of the PDH Feed plant set at 750,000 tons.
The Antwerp Petrochemical Complex is among the three largest such complexes in Europe, along with Amsterdam and Rotterdam. Antwerp is the second largest city in Belgium and is known for being the setting of the movie, “Flanders Dog,” which was screened in Korea in 1980.
John McNally, CEO, INEOS Project One, said: “The selection of SK E&C is a significant step forward for the development of the project. Our decision is based on a thorough and rigorous assessment of the needs of the project and the expertise of the companies capable of designing state-of-the-art, reliable and efficient PDH units. SK E&C is best placed to help us to apply leading-edge technology to the design of a reliable PDH facility.”
The signing of the contract with SK E&C took place at the INEOS headquarters in London. The event was attended by Gerd Franken, chairman of INEOS Olefins & Polymers, John McNally, CEO of INEOS Project ONE, Ahn Jae-hyun, CEO of SK E&C, and Kim Chul-Jin, president of SK Advanced.
“This plant will not only be highly energy and carbon efficient but will help to give Europe a competitive and sustainable industry for years to come. The demands on the environmental performance of this unit will be very high and we are recruiting a talented team to design a plant that meets the highest standards,” said Franken.
The PDH process produces propylene by removing hydrogen from propane gas. The main use for propylene is polypropylene, which is increasingly used in components to make cars lighter and more efficient.
It is also used to produce acrylonitrile without which there would be no carbon fiber, which is increasingly important for transport, and for acrylic fibers for clothing. Propylene oxide which is also based on propylene is used in insulation foams for construction.
The efficient production of hydrogen as a by-product is increasingly becoming a product of interest for future zero carbon fuel and energy systems for transportation.