SEOUL, Sept. 17 (Korea Bizwire) — Hanwha Total Petrochemical Co., a major petrochemical producer in South Korea, said Tuesday it has completed an expansion of its ethylene and propylene production facilities.
Hanwha Total said its Naphtha Cracking Center (NCC) Side Gas Cracker at its plant in South Chungcheong Province has started commercial operations.
Hanwha Total spent 540 billion won (US$455 million) to build the new NCC side gas cracker that can produce 310,000 tons of ethylene and 130,000 tons of propylene a year.
The company said its new cracker expects to generate 590 billion won in sales.
With the latest expansion, Hanwha Total’s annual ethylene production capacity will be 1.4 million tons, while that of propylene will reach 1.06 million tons.
Both ethylene and propylene are key materials in making petrochemical products like plastics.
Most crackers run on naphtha, but Hanwha Total said its latest cracking facility uses liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) as a feedstock, which is cheaper than naphtha.
Hanwha Total said it is working to increase its polyethylene production by 400,000 tons by the end of this year.
The company also plans to upgrade its production capacity of ethylene by 150,000 tons, propylene by 40,000 tons and polypropylene by 400,000 tons by 2021.
Hanwha Total is a 50-50 joint venture between Hanwha Group and French energy giant Total SA. Energy and chemical-focused conglomerate Hanwha Group took over the joint venture from Samsung Group in 2015.
Hanwha Total posted 5 trillion won in sales in the first half of the year, down 7.4 percent from a year ago, while its operating profit plunged 67 percent on-year to 217 billion won.