Taiwan’s Kuokuang may scale down controversial petchem project

15 December 2010 07:38  [Source: ICIS news]

SHANGHAI (ICIS)--Taiwan’s Kuokuang Petrochemical Technology Co (KPTC) is considering scaling down a proposed mega petrochemical complex in the wake of strong protests by residents on environmental concerns, a company source said on Wednesday.

The source did not say how much the project, located at Changhua county on the southwestern coast of Taiwan, would be reduced to.

The original plan for the proposed $36bn (€27bn) includes a 300,000 bbl/day refinery, a 2.4m tonne/year cracker and more than 20 downstream chemical units, according to an earlier report by ICIS.

The petrochemical project was expected to drive the economy up by 2%, “very good for Taiwan’s economic growth”, said Jack Shieh, executive manager at the Petrochemical Industry Association of Taiwan (PIAT).

However, the project had been dogged by environmental concerns as it was situated near a habitat of humpback dolphins, the ICIS report added.

On Tuesday, a hearing by the Ministry of Economic Affairs on the planned Kuokuang petrochemical complex was interrupted by sporadic clashes between the project’s supporters and opponents, according to a report by Taiwan’s Central News Agency.

“We attended the hearing yesterday [Tuesday] just to answer some questions. It’s normal that you have supporters and opponents when you build a new project,” the source from KPTC said.

“The Ministry of Economic Affairs will give opinions from the hearing to the Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) for reference,” the source added, but declined to reveal when the project would receive final approval.

State-run firm CPC has a 43% stake in KPTC. Its partners in the project include China Man-Made Fibre, Chang Chun Petrochemical, Oriental Union Chemical, Ho Tung Chemical and Fubon Banking Group.

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By: Judith Wang
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