GS Caltex Leading the Future of Korea’s Petroleum Industry | Korean Products

July 17, 2022[INQ. NO. 2206C21] Since its establishment in 1967 as Korea’s first private oil refinery, GS Caltex has contributed to the growth and development of the nation’s economy and industry with its petroleum and petrochemical business for the past 50 years. Backed by smart investment decisions that were in line with the global oil market trend, GS Caltex, which started with a daily capacity of 60,000 barrels in 1969, now has facilities that allow it to reach a refining capacity of 800,000 barrels per day.

GS Caltex built its first RFCC (Residue Fluid Catalytic Cracking Unit) facility in 1995, the 2nd facility, HCR (Hydrocracker) in 2007, and the third facility, VRHCR (Vacuum Residue Hydrocracker) in 2013. As such, by continuously investing in and expanding its cracking centers to meet the changing needs of the market, GS Caltex is now capable of processing 275,000 barrels a day.

Meanwhile, GS Caltex is putting in a lot of effort into becoming a leading company in the petrochemicals industry, as well as the oil refining industry. The portfolio of the company’s polymer business allows it to spread or distribute risks that come from external factors including oil price fluctuations. GS Caltex vertically integrated the chains for propylene, which is the main material used for the polymer business, polypropylene, the intermediate material, and composite resins, the final goods.

After starting production of polypropylene in 1988 and taking its first step into the petrochemical industry, GS Caltex continued to expand its production facilities and is now a company that has an annual capacity of 180,000 tons.

The company is also strengthening the competitiveness of its products by producing propylene, the main material used to produce polypropylene.

In addition, GS Caltex has continued to invest in boosting its competitiveness in the global petrochemicals industry including the global aromatics market after successfully building its first paraxylene plant in 1990 as well as the first BTX factory.

As a result, GS Caltex owns a world-class production facility that can produce 2.8 million tons of aromatics in total per year including 1.35 million tons of paraxylene, 930,000 tons of benzene, 170,000tons of toluene, and 350,000 tons of mixed xylene.


GS Caltex’s olefin manufacturing facility, MFC (Mixed Feed Cracker) is capable of producing a total of 750,000 tons of ethylene and 500,000 tons of polyethylene every year. Unlike NCCs (Naphtha Cracking Center) of petrochemical companies that use naphtha as the main material, GS Caltex’s MFC produces ethylene and propylene, the major base oil sources of petrochemical products. This means MFC can use not only naphtha, but also LPG, blast furnace gas, and other types of base oil that are created as a result of the refinery process as raw materials.

GS Caltex is currently producing a total of 9,000 barrels of lubricating oil every day and 8,000 tons of grease every year after opening its lubricant manufacturing plant in Incheon back in 1969. In 2021, Kixx, engine oil made by GS Caltex, was nominated as the winner of the Korea First Brand Awards for five consecutive years, which proved that it is recognized as the best lubricating oil in Korea.

GS Caltex is also sparing no efforts to diversify its crude oil sources to reinforce its production competitiveness and find new streams of economical oil. It is also continuously working to diversify its exports, and as a result exports comprised around 70% of the company’s total revenues in 2021. GS Caltex was the first oil refining company in Korea to receive the Export Tower Award for 200 million dollars of export in 1983. It was subsequently awarded the 15 billion dollar export tower in 2008, followed by the 20 billion dollar award in 2011, and then won the 25 billion Export Tower Award in 2012.

Achieving future growth by creating a sustainable circular economy
GS Caltex is solidifying its green vision to create a sustainable circular economy and respond to climate change to minimize its environmental impact, thereby addressing environmental issues happening worldwide. To this end, the company is leading various eco-friendly projects and activities that are closely related to a circular economy across its entire value chain.
In particular, GS Caltex is putting its ESG principles into practice, taking into account how each of the processes including procurement of raw materials, production, sales, consumption, and recycling affects the environment.
Moreover, the company strives to reduce ESG risks across the entire supply chain, including helping its partner companies manage ESG.


Kixx BIO1, eco-friendly “carbon negative” engine oil using sustainable raw materials and packaging
Last February, GS Caltex became the first lubricant manufacturing company in Korea to introduce “Kixx BIO1”, eco-friendly engine oil that’s made using raw materials that do not harm the environment and comes in a sustainable container. By establishing a partnership with Novvi, a U.S. based company that develops biofuels, GS Caltex developed Kixx BIO1 using base oil made from 100% renewable plant materials including palm, coconut, soybean, and rapeseed. Furthermore, GS Caltex created the container for the product by recycling waste plastics.
Over 80% of engine oil is lubricant base oil, which is an essential raw material. One of the noteworthy characteristics of the base oil used to manufacture Kixx BIO1 is that it is carbon negative. Being “carbon negative” is more than just being “carbon neutral,” which is a state of net-zero carbon dioxide emissions.
According to Novvi, whereas growing plants to produce one kilogram of base oil absorbs 3.12 kilograms of carbon dioxide, only 2.61 kilograms of carbon dioxide is emitted while processing the plant ingredients. In short, for every kilogram of base oil produced, 0.51 kilograms of carbon dioxide is removed from the atmosphere. GS Caltex’s plan is to use 25~100% plant-based base oil to release products with various viscosity standards

GS Caltex using waste plastic pyrolysis oil in the oil refining process

Last December, GS Caltex started a demonstration project to use waste plastic pyrolysis oil for the petroleum refining process. As a first step, the company put around 50 tons of waste plastic propylene oil into its Yeosu upgrading facility. Waste plastic is converted into pyrolysis oil, a liquid raw material, through chemical recycling processes including pyrolysis after pretreatment.
Putting the pyrolysis oil into the oil refining and petrochemical processes are expected to enhance the resource recycling effect as well as reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Of special note, GS Caltex is the first company in Korea to put pyrolysis oil into an advanced facility. The company’s efforts are expected to raise the recycling rate by recycling materials into plastic products and polypropylene.
Going forward, GS Caltex plans to utilize the results of the demonstration project and invest in building and opening facilities capable of producing 50,000 tons of waste plastic pyrolysis oil in 2024. Its plan is to increase its annual capacity to one million tons. In addition, the company plans to leverage the outcome of the demonstration project to achieve the circulation of resources and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.


Production of sustainable composite resins by recycling waste plastics
Going beyond simply recycling waste plastics, GS Caltex focuses its attention on the “upcycling method,” which creates new value in terms of performance and quality by combining a variety of materials with different properties.
GS Caltex commenced its eco-friendly composite resin business using waste plastics in 2010 and currently, the volume of eco-friendly composite resins produced using recycled waste plastic comprises over 10% of its total composite resin production.
Sustainable composite resins are functional plastics made from waste plastics and are used as materials for interior and exterior materials that go into vehicles and home appliances such as washing machines and air conditioners, just like existing composite resins. Around 61,000 tons of carbon dioxide can be reduced if waste plastics are recycled as sustainable composite resin instead of being incinerated, which has the same effect as planting 9.3 million pine trees.

Production of 3HP, a biodegradable plastic material
GS Caltex signed a Joint Development Agreement (JDA) with LG Chem in November last year to jointly develop technologies to produce 3HP (Hydroxypropionic acid), a biodegradable plastic material, and prototypes. Biodegradable plastics refer to eco-friendly plastics that are broken down into water and carbon dioxide by microorganisms, thereby not generating any pollutants such as microplastics that harm the environment.
The two companies plan to accelerate their penetration into various markets related to biodegradable materials and bioplastics by aiming to successfully start producing 3HP prototypes from 2023.

GS Caltex supporting ESG management and strengthening ESG capabilities across the entire supply chain
GS Caltex is continuing its efforts to strengthen ESG capabilities across the entire supply chain. The company has put in place ESG self-assessment programs so that the partner companies can check their own ESG compliance level and take appropriate initiatives. ESG consulting services are also provided to its partner companies by partnering with specialized institutions according to the results of the assessment.
To explain some of the actions taken by GS Caltex for its supplier companies, it created a code of conduct in 2018, developed a customized ESG self-assessment model in 2019, and has conducted an ESG self-assessment on around 320 partners using a partner company’s online assessment solution.
The partner companies that took part in the assessment were able to receive ESG training and feedback to view their risk factors and take steps to address them. GS Caltex is actively supporting the promotion of its partner companies’ ESG capabilities by visiting those that need to improve their ESG standards together with a specialized institution and providing them with ESG consulting services. | Blog Magazine of Korean products, brands and Goods

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