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November 4, 2009

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Petrochemical complex prepares launch

AN 18.3-billion-yuan (US$2.7 billion) petrochemical complex in north China will start production by the first quarter of next year, top Asian refiner Sinopec Corp and Saudi Basic Industries Corp said yesterday.

The project in Tianjin will be run by a 50-50 joint venture that was set up by the two companies last year.

It will be capable of producing 3.2 million tons of various chemical products, the companies said in Beijing. The project was first announced early last year.

The million-ton ethylene cracker will create synergy between the two companies and meet growing demand in the domestic Chinese market against the backdrop of a global economic downturn, the companies said.

The project will produce 1 million tons annually of ethylene, a key petrochemical building block, as well as other downstream products.

China, which imports about half of its ethylene needs, aims to raise output 51.2 percent from last year to 15.5 million tons by 2011.

The companies said that this project will benefit both and that they hope to make the joint venture a platform for an expanded partnership.

Meanwhile, Sinopec said SABIC will supply 10 million tons of crude to its Tianjin refinery annually and it expects to buy more than 50 million tons of crude from Saudi Aramco next year, said Wang Tianpu, Sinopec's president, according to a Reuters report.

Wang told reporters Sinopec plans to process 205 million tons of crude next year and will add 12 to 15 million tons of refining capacity each year in the next three years. Its refining capacity would rise to 200 million tons by the end of this year.


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