InterviewINEOS 'agrees to agree' on refining, petchems partnership

10 January 2011 16:51  [Source: ICIS news]

By Nigel Davis

LONDON (ICIS)--The signing of “an agreement to agree” is very much the start of a process that is likely to see closer cooperation in refining and petrochemicals between INEOS and PetroChina, INEOS director Tom Crotty said on Monday.

Crotty said that the signing of a framework agreement between INEOS and PetroChina on the INEOS refineries and trading operations in Grangemouth, Scotland, and Lavera, France, and on INEOS technologies with China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC), should lead to a binding refining agreement between the companies by the end of June 2011.

“The primary issues [leading to a definitive agreement] are the consultation process and the regulatory approvals,” he added. “This is very much the start of a much closer cooperation.”

PetroChina said: “Senior management of both PetroChina and INEOS show support and appreciation for the deals, and believe that these deals are the start of a long-term relationship between PetroChina, one of the world’s largest integrated oil companies, and INEOS, one of the world’s largest petrochemical companies.” 

The framework agreements were given added weight when signed in London in the presence of Chinese Vice Premier Li Ke Qiang and British Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg.

Financial as well as operational details of the expected 50:50 refining joint venture will be worked out over the next six months, Crotty said.

INEOS was “very, very pleased” with the deals, which would help the privately held company de-leverage and expand its presence in the China market, he added.

Crotty told ICIS in October last year that as a company focused on Europe and North America, it was keen to do something in the Middle East and in Asia, possibly by using its technology to invest in these markets.

On Monday, he said the agreement with CNPC offered the possibility of levering INEOS polyolefins, polyvinyl chloride (PVC), chlorine, possibly acrylonitirile (ACN) and other technologies into China. The INEOS polyolefins technology is already licensed to producers in China.

INEOS signed a letter of intent with Sinopec in January 2010 to build a 400,000 tonne/year phenol plant in Nanjing. It would be the largest of its kind in China.

Crotty said he believed that the deals would give PetroChina a much larger European energy presence and help it with its move downstream by having stakes in two of Europe’s strongest diesel refineries.

INEOS has invested heavily in the Lavera refinery in recent years, Crotty said, but he expected the new partners to invest in both refinery assets in future.

Calum MacLean, CEO of INEOS Refining, said in an earlier press release: “These agreements will help secure the long-term future of jobs and skills at Grangemouth and Lavera, in partnership with one of the world’s largest energy companies.”

The refineries are strategically important - Grangemouth provides utilities for essential UK pipeline links with gas fields in the North Sea and provides most of Scotland’s gasoline. INEOS has been in close talks with both the Scottish and UK governments on issues of strategic concern, Crotty said.

INEOS Refining is Europe’s largest independent oil refiner. The Grangemouth and Lavera refineries, formerly owned by BP, can process 410,000 bbl/day of crude to produce about 20m tonnes of fuels a year.

INEOS Refining has an annual turnover of about $15bn (€12bn).

($1 = €0.78)

For more on INEOS and PetroChina visit ICIS company intelligence
To discuss issues facing the chemical industry go to ICIS connect


By: Nigel Davis
+44 20 8652 3214



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