Sinopec cleared for 14.7b yuan plant

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 03 April, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 03 April, 2007, 12:00am

China Petroleum & Chemical Corp (Sinopec) has won central government approval to build a 14.7 billion yuan petrochemical project in Wuhan, Hebei province, the first project on such a large scale in central China.

The project includes an 800,000 tonne a year ethylene plant and seven other facilities capable of producing a range of downstream petrochemicals, according to the National Development and Reform Commission, the industry regulator and projects approver.

Ethylene is a basic chemical building block derived from crude oil and is used to make chemical raw materials for a wide range of manufacturing industries.

The largest existing ethylene plants on the mainland can produce about one million tonnes of the petrochemical a year.

'Upon completion of the project, Wuhan will be home to central China's first integrated crude oil refining and petrochemical project,' the NDRC said.

After launching preferential policies to induce investment to develop the economically backward regions of western and northeast China, Beijing has introduced policies in the past two years to spur development of the country's central region.

The central government plans to raise the country's annual ethylene capacity by 4.38 million tonnes through expansion and upgrading of existing plants by 2010, and by an additional 6.2 million tonnes via new plants.

The nation produced 7.55 million tonnes of ethylene in 2005.

A Sinopec spokesman said the Wuhan project would complement a continuing expansion of its oil refinery in the city.

He did not provide details. According to a Platts report in June 2005, the refinery's annual crude processing capacity would be raised to eight million tonnes from three million, at a cost of 1.86 billion yuan.