Expansions: SK Geo Centric/Satellite to build EAA plant in China; Ineos awards US$100 mn contract to Wood for Belgian ethylene plant

SK Geo Centric/Satellite to build EAA plant in China

South Korea’s SK Geo Centric Co. is to tie up with a local Chinese partner, Zhejiang Satellite Petrochemical Co,  to build an ethylene acrylic acid (EAA) plant in China to expand its packaging material business in Asia. SK Geo Centric, formerly known as SK Global Chemical, will enter into a joint venture with Satellite, with SK Geo Centric holding a 60% stake.

It plans to invest almost US$222 million to build the plant with a capacity of 40,000 tonnes/year in Lianyungang in Jiangsu province. It is expected to begin operation in the first half of 2025.

Satellite Petrochemical will supply the plant with raw materials, and SK Geo Centric will use its process technology and operational expertise.

“We target demand in Asia, including China, with the only EAA plant in the mainland,” said SK Geo Centric CEO Na Kyung-soo in a statement. “We will also become a global eco-friendly chemical material producer through SK Geo Centric’s technologies and marketing capabilities in Asia.”

The company, wholly owned by SK Innovation Co., considers expanding EAA production capacity in China or other countries in Asia depending on growth in businesses related to the material to meet regional demand.

Through a 2017 acquisition of the EAA business from US chemical manufacturer Dow Inc, it had previously secured EAA factories in Texas, the US, and Tarragona, Spain.

SK Geo Centric is one of four global major chemicals producers that account for about 80% of the global supply of EAA. Due to EAA’s strength, transparency, and adhesion, demand is rising, especially for use in the stability of batteries for electric vehicles.

Additionally, it is gaining attention as an environmentally friendly material that, through strong adhesion and simple separation, lowers the use of plastic and raises recycling rates.

Ineos awards US$100 mn contract to Wood for Belgian ethylene plant

In other news, technology firm Wood has secured a new contract with chemical firm Ineos in excess of $100 million to deliver engineering, procurement, and construction management (EPCm) services for Project One, a new petrochemicals complex in Antwerp, Belgium, which will deliver an ethane cracker said to have the lowest carbon footprint in Europe.

Effective immediately, the four-year contract will be delivered by Wood’s Projects business unit. The scope is focused on the outside battery limit facilities for the ethane cracker and follows the successful completion of front-end engineering design for the facility. Wood’s integrated project management team will also continue to oversee the project, working closely with the Ineos project team.

Giuseppe Zuccaro, President of Process & Chemicals at Wood, said: “The chemicals sector, like all industries, is forging its own path to carbon neutrality. What Project One represents is the next era of ethylene production, a key component in most plastics. Through the combination of technology and an innovative technical design approach, it will be the most sustainable and energy-efficient steam cracker in Europe.”

At its peak Wood is expected to employ around 300 people on the project across its execution centres in Reading and Milan, its global engineering centre in India, and at the site in Antwerp during construction.


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