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SK Energy to invest big in eco-friendly production

June 04,2019
SK Energy will invest 250 billion won ($211.8 million) over the next five years to introduce eco-friendly equipment to its production facilities.

The upgrades will be made mainly to SK Energy’s Ulsan factory, the company’s largest manufacturing site in Korea. The oil refiner said in a statement Sunday that the main purpose of the move was to organize a factory that does not harm its community and prepare for future eco-friendly businesses. Among changes planned at the moment are shifting the fuel for power generation completely to liquefied natural gas (LNG) by the first half of 2020 and install reduction facilities for nitrogen oxide by 2022 and volatile organic compounds by 2023. SK is also pushing plans to establish a waste water treatment plant in the storage site for crude oil.

The company’s direction comes in line with its parent company SK Innovation’s “green balance” initiative announced last month.

SK Energy has already invested 1 trillion won since November 2017 to build environmentally-friendly vacuum residue desulfurization (VRDS) facilities at its Ulsan factory.

The investment came as the SK Innovation affiliate was looking to prepare for the International Maritime Organization’s vow to limit the sulfur concentration in ship fuel from the current 3.5 percent to 0.5 percent starting next year. If its VRDS facilities start operating within the first half of next year, SK Energy said it will be able to produce 40,000 barrels of low-sulfur oil per day.

The oil refiner has also been partnering with other companies in a bid to tackle the fine dust crisis. It has doubled its financial support to 4.2 billion won in March this year to replace outdated oil tankers and distributed 85,000 fine dust-blocking masks to employees of 3,800 gas stations and liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) stations.

BY SONG KYOUNG-SON, KO JUN-TAE [song.kyoungson@joongang.co.kr]