BP and Lotte have agreed to undertake a major expansion at their jointly owned petrochemicals facility in South Korea with an expected investment of $175m.
The expansion project will increase their joint venture Lotte BP Chemical’s petrochemicals facility located in Ulsan.
Lotte vice chairman Soo-Young Huh said: “We are pleased with the successful launch of this project, based on the track record of manufacturing excellence of Lotte BP and expect it to strengthen the partnership between BP and Lotte.”
Through debottlenecking, the partners expect to increase the acetic acid capacity of the facility by 100,000 tons a year (tpa) to 650,000tpa by May 2019.
As part of the project, the vinyl acetate monomer (VAM) capacity of the petrochemicals facility will be doubled from 200,000tpa to 400,000tpa. This is expected to be achieved by the end of 2020 through the addition of a second VAM plant.
BP petrochemicals acetyls vice president Nigel Dunn said: “This project demonstrates our ability to execute low capital cost debottlenecks to meet customer needs. Building on the long-standing success of our partnership with Lotte, this expansion will allow us to continue to meet Korea’s growing demand for these key petrochemicals.”
BP holds a stake of 50.94% in the Lotte BP Chemical joint venture with the remaining 49.06% stake owned by the South Korean petrochemical company Lotte.
The petrochemical joint venture was formed by the oil and gas giant in 1989 originally with Samsung. In 2016, Lotte joined BP as partner in the Lotte BP Chemical following its acquisition of Samsung’s chemicals businesses.
In South Korea, BP has another petrochemical joint venture, which is with Asian Acetyls.
Last month, the oil and gas major signed a heads of agreement (HoA) with SOCAR Turkey to assess the creation of a joint venture that would construct and operate a petrochemicals complex in Turkey.
The petrochemicals facility is proposed to be built in Aliaga in western Turkey. It is expected to produce 1.25 million tpa of purified terephthalic acid (PTA), 840,000tpa paraxylene (PX) and 340,000tpa of benzene.