EPCA ’03: Mexico’s Pemex awaits 14 proposals on Phoenix

28 September 2003 17:40  [Source: ICIS news]

MONTE CARLO, Monaco (CNI)--Mexico’s Petroquimica – the chemicals unit of state-owned Pemex oil company – has signed confidentiality agreements with 14 companies for further development of its Phoenix project, a Pemex executive told CNI here Sunday.


Carlos Pani, vice president of sales and marketing at the Petroquimica unit, declined to identify the companies by name. But he said his company was satisfied with the response and the geographic diversity of the companies, which include five from Mexico, four from both Europe and the US and a 14th from the Middle East.


Pani said Petroquimica officials spent May and June traveling around and promoting the proposed complex to a group of 20 companies across the globe. He emphasised that Phoenix will not involve a bidding process, calling the promotion an “invitation” for companies to partner with Petroquimica for development of the complex.


He was interviewed here on the sidelines at the 37th annual meeting* of the European Petrochemical Association (EPCE). He is here with two other Pemex officials checking with customers and discussing the Phoenix plans.


Pani said Petroquimica hopes to have a 30-49% minority share of the Phoenix joint venture. Rough plans would involve construction of a complex with an annual capacity for 1m tonne of ethylene, 450 000 tonne of both high density and linear low density polyethylene (hdPE and lldPE), 500 000 tonne of both styrene monomer (SM) and polypropylene (PP) and 125 000 tonne of butadiene.


But Pani described those ownership and capacity goals as loosely defined, stressing that Petroquimica remains open to any changes suggested by the companies that finally submit proposals, which are due by the end of November.


Between December and January, he said, Petroquimica will review the proposals and select two companies for further negotiations with a goal of finalising a majority partner agreement by July.


He said his company remains satisfied with the response, noting that 14 confidentiality agreements represents a 70% response on its 20-company promotional tour. But he warned that none of the companies has a binding obligation to submit proposals.


“We’ll know more for sure at the end of November when we receive the proposals,” said Pani.


He said Petroquimica and Pemex will be reviewing the proposals with a focus on some basic criteria including each prospective partner's experience with operations and their level of interest in products sought for the complex.


Although Petroquimica plans to be a minority partner, Pani said the company wants to be active in some segment of the deal such as marketing.


*EPCA 2003 runs through Tuesday.

By: Gary Taylor
+1 713 525 2653

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