By Kim Seung-yeon
ULSAN, Sept. 15 (Yonhap) -- SK Group plans to invest 8 trillion won (US$6.02 billion) to transform its main refinery and chemical complex in the country's southeast into eco-friendly businesses, its chief has said.
Chey Tae-won, chairman of SK Group, made the announcement as he reinforced the company's commitment to shifting its key areas of fossil fuel-based energy segments to green energy.
"Putting all SK affiliates together, we have 8 trillion won of investment set aside just for Ulsan going forward, all related to the energy transition," Chey told reporters on the sidelines of the Ulsan Forum on Thursday.
The annual Ulsan Forum, held in the namesake coastal city, was first launched last year by SK to discuss ways to promote sustainable regional growth.
Ulsan, a major industrial city in South Korea, is home to SK's key refinery and chemical cluster, the Ulsan CLX, which accounts for a major portion of the regional economy.
SK Geocentric Co., the chemical unit of the country's second-largest conglomerate, is building a massive plastic recycling plant in the same complex under the decarbonization plans.
"Reducing carbon emissions is the most pressing matter given the climate change issue," Chey said. "Our goal is to push for 100 percent recycling of plastics, and I think we're taking the first step down that path."
"We're continuing the green investment," he added.
The chairman also called for the need to accelerate digitalization in the manufacturing industry as a way to keep its competitive edge in the face of tougher price competition with rivals like China.
"I think we'll see more competition with our neighboring rivals, especially with countries like China. ... If China keeps pushing us with lower prices, we can lose the market," Chey said.
"To enhance our competitiveness, we have to keep looking for the most efficient ways to reduce cost, and that's why digitalization is the most important."
USFK soldier, 2 women arrested for drug trafficking
Yoon says arms deal between N. Korea, Russia would be 'direct provocation' against S. Korea
(LEAD) Fighter jet crashes in Seosan; pilot makes emergency escape
(LEAD) Eight workers injured in collapse of concert structure
Supreme Court confirms 20-yr sentence for 'spin kick' assailant