EPCA ’02: Pemex to invite bids on new cracker by early '03

29 September 2002 14:12  [Source: ICIS news]

BERLIN (CNI)--Mexico’s energy giant Pemex will invite private investor bids late this year or early next for the 1.2m tonne/year ethylene plant and chemicals complex planned by the government of President Vicente Fox, Pemex officials said here Sunday.

Carlos Pani, vice president for sales and marketing for Pemex Petroquimica, also confirmed to CNI today that private investors will be allowed to have a majority shareholding in the vast new project, with Pemex retaining a minority equity share.

The cost of the ethylene cracker project has not yet been determined. That figure, Pani said, will be reached as the scope of the planned complex is refined. Earlier reports had put the cost of the cracker at around $800m (Euro813m).

Pemex expects to receive bids on the project from various consortia through mid-year 2003, with start of construction as soon as 2004, according to Pani.

He said it is essential that Mexico make significant and continuing investments in its chemicals industry as a matter of general economic viability for the nation. "If we fail to invest in our petrochemicals industry, within not many years we will have to spend all of the income generated by our oil and gas production just to pay for our chemicals imports. So we have no choice but to make these investments."

Asked about petrochemicals plans beyond the projected 1.2m tonne/year ethylene cracker and associated downstream facilities, Pani said Pemex would examine other options for petrochemicals investment once cracker complex has been fully defined. "The exact scope of that major project will of course influence our further consideration of additional investments."

The planned 1.2m tonne cracker project is a crucial move for Pemex and Mexico. "This project will be our breakthrough into a new program for petrochemicals in Mexico, so we want to be sure this project goes well," stated Pani.

He spoke with CNI on the sidelines of the 36th annual meeting here of the European Petrochemicals Association (EPCA). The meeting continues through Tuesday.

By: Joe Kamalick
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