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Ethylene plant a major target for Sinopec plan
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China Petrochemical Corp, the nation's largest oil refiner, may seek investors to help build an ethylene plant in southern China to meet rising demand for the raw material for plastics and synthetic fibers.

"We haven't been in talks with any partners, though we don't exclude the possibility," Zhang Jianhua, the vice general manager of Sinopec Group, as China Petrochemical is known, said in an interview in Beijing. The government has granted approval for a feasibility study on the one million metric ton-a-year plant.

Sinopec has ethylene ventures with BP Plc, BASF SE and SK Corp in the eastern cities of Nanjing and Shanghai, and in the central province of Hubei. China, which imports half of its ethylene needs, aims to more than double production capacity to 18.13 million tons by 2010. Demand will rise 10 percent to 18.7 million tons this year, according to a government forecast.

"The project may not start before 2010, as designing work for such big plants is always complicated," Zhang said. The plant will be built in Hainan, he said.

Besides refining ventures, Sinopec Group is among Chinese state oil companies that are boosting spending in exploration projects both domestically and overseas to secure fuel to supply the world's fastest-growing major economy.

The Sinopec Group gained access to 4.24 million tons of oil reserves and 80 million cubic meters of gas in Kazakhstan at the end of last year, Zhang said.

(Shanghai Daily April 11, 2008)

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