13 May 1996 00:00 [Source: ACN]
SINOPEC is holding talks with each of three companies - Dow Chemical, Exxon Chemical and Mitsui Petrochemical Industries (MPI) - to build a worldscale cracker joint venture in Tianjin, a senior Sinopec official told ACN.
The 600 000 tonne/year ethylene cracker is one of several projects planned under China's Ninth Five-Year Plan in the chemical industrial zone recently earmarked for Tianjin.
The cracker and 10m tonne/year oil processing facilities will be built in the second phase of the industrial zone, and are due to be completed by 2005 (ACN 6 May, p18).
The first phase, to be completed in 2000, will result in the production of 200 000 tonne/year of PVC, 50 000 tonne/year of epoxy resin, 100 000 tonne/year of polystyrene, 100 000 tonne/year of phenol and acetone, 40 000 tonne/year of bisphenol A and 50 000 tonne/year of caustic soda.
Dow Chemical said Tianjin is one of the sites it is assessing for a 600 000 tonne/year cracker in China. The company's feasibility study is expected to be completed at the end of the year. 'Nothing has been decided yet, and the other sites are just as good,' vice-president of business development in Greater China Phil Cook told ACN.
Exxon Chemical said it has been considering investing in the Tianjin cracker project for some time. A company spokesman told ACN that talks with Sinopec, which started in H1 last year, are still in the 'preliminary' stage. But Exxon is also checking out other sites.
The company will invest downstream if there is a chance to do so, the spokesman said, though he declined to be specific.
MPI said discussions with Sinopec started early this year. It said it is keen on the cracker project, whether it gets a big or small stake.
'The project is still not very clearly specified at this moment. Besides investing in PP and PE, we would also like to license our technology to the cracker's PP unit,' a top decision maker from MPI said. He expected the cracker project to be a group investment.
MPI is also looking elsewhere in China for another 600-800 000 tonne/year cracker joint venture, including a 600 000 tonne/year cracker project of Shanghai Petrochemical (SPC). BP Chemicals has announced it is partnering SPC to build the cracker, a 200-300 000 tonne/year PE plant, a 260-300 000 tonne/year acrylonitrile plant and a styrene unit (ACN 6 May, p18).
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