S-Oil lets contract for Onsan refinery HS-RFCC complex

S-Oil Corp., Seoul, has let a contract to General Atomics Electromagnetic Systems (GA-EMS), San Diego, to provide electrostatic separation technology and equipment to be installed at a residue upgrading complex (RUC) now under construction at S-Oil’s 669,000-b/d Onsan refinery complex in Ulsan, South Korea (OGJ Online, July 16, 2015).

As part of the contract, GA-EMS will supply its proprietary 16-module Gulftronic electrostatic separator system for the RUC’s new high-severity residue fluid catalytic cracker (HS-RFCC), the service provider said.

Selected as a solution to challenges S-Oil previously experienced with mechanical filtration systems failure to achieve complete solids removal from slurry-decant oil, Gulftronic separators use an electrostatic process to polarize, capture, and remove all solids from the process stream to result in higher-value clarified products, less downstream contamination, and reduced maintenance requirements, according to GA-EMS.

The company disclosed neither a value of the contract nor a timeframe for its delivery of the Gulftronic system to the refinery.

Ongoing modernization

This latest contract follows a series of contract awards by S-Oil for the 76,000-b/d HS-RFCC, one of many projects under the South Korean operator’s overall program to modernize and expand its integrated refining and petrochemical operations at Ulsan (OGJ Online, July 16, 2016).

The program, which includes construction of the RUC and olefin downstream complex (ODC), is designed to improve profitability as well as secure long-term competitiveness of the Onsan complex by enabling it to increase conversion of low-cost heavier hydrocarbons into high-value olefins and fuels.

Scheduled for startup during first-half 2018, the RUC will add a 63,000-b/d residue hydrodesulfurization (Hyvahl) unit as well as the 76,000-b/d HS-FCC to produce gasoline (21,000 b/d), alkylate (14,000 b/d), and methyl tertiary butyl ether (370,000 tonnes/year).

The ODC project, also due for commissioning during first-half 2018, will add a 405,000-tpy polypropylene (PP) plant and 300,000-tpy propylene oxide (PO) plant based on PP and PO technologies licensed by Sumitomo Chemical Co. Ltd., Tokyo.

The South Korean refiner also continues to progress on its separate S-Oil Upgrading Program of Existing Refinery (SUPER) project, which entails a three-phased revamp of processing units at the integrated complex.

Completed during 2015, SUPER’s first phase included upgrades to an existing hydrocracking plant that increased production volumes of diesel, kerosine, and lube base oils, as well as completion of the first-stage revamp of Onsan’s aromatic complex to boost output of paraxylene.

SUPER’s second phase, which will include revamps of existing lube base oil, RFCC, and ultralow-sulfur diesel production complexes, is scheduled to be completed by yearend.

The company plans to complete Phase 3 of SUPER, which is to include a second-stage revamp of the aromatic complex, sometime in 2017.

Contact Robert Brelsford at rbrelsford@ogjonline.com.

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