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China, Australia Sign Ethene, Oil Exploration Deals
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China National Chemical Corporation (ChemChina), one of the leading producers of chemical products in China, said on Monday that it has acquired 100 percent of Qenos, Australia's biggest ethylene producer.


ChemChina said the deal means its total assets now exceed 80 billion yuan (US$10 billion) and its total sales revenues for this year are expected to hit 80 billion yuan.


Ren Jianxin, general manager of the Chinese chemical giant, said: "The deal provides ChemChina with a platform to expand in Australia, and will help ChemChina improve its production and international operations."


ChemChina intends to capitalize on Qenos' research team and facilities, and its expertise in corporate governance, production management, safety and environmental protection.


The Chinese company attributes the successful deal to ChemChina's corporate culture, growth potential and the strong Chinese economy.


ChemChina said it will pursue a strategy of localizing its professional team at Qenos to improve its competitiveness and long-term development through increased production capacity.


Founded in 1999, Qenos was equally owned by ExxonMobile and Orica. It produces half a million tons of ethylene and the same amount of polymer each year and has become the cornerstone of Australia's rubber industry.


Qenos accounts for 70 percent of Australia's polyethylene market.


In January, ChemChina's subsidiary, China National Blue Star Group Corporation took over Adisseo Group, the largest animal nutrition supplement producer in the world.


Also on Monday, China National Offshore Oil Company Limited (CNOOC Ltd) announced that it has signed agreements for exploration permits on four blocks off Australia.


CNOOC Ltd signed the agreements with BHP Billiton Limited (BHP Billiton) and Kerr-McGee Australia Exploration and Production Company Ltd (Kerr-McGee) through its subsidiary, the CNOOC Australia E&P Company, for a 25 percent interest in each of the exploration permits.


The four blocks, WA-301-P, WA-303-P, WA-304-P and WA-305-P, are located in the Outer Browse Basin, off Australia's northwest coast.


The blocks are about 300 kilometers offshore and cover a total of 21,000 square kilometers in waters up to 2,000 meters deep.


The operator of the four permits is BHP Billiton.


Yang Hua, executive vice president of CNOOC Ltd, said further expansion of its natural gas business in Australia is part of the company's strengthened overseas development strategy.


Incorporated in Hong Kong in 1999 and listed in 2001 both in New York and Hong Kong, CNOOC Ltd is a 70.64-percent-held subsidiary of China National Offshore Oil Corporation, China's largest offshore oil and gas producer.


(Xinhua News Agency April 4, 2006)

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