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Sinopec to start up Zhejiang petchem complex

October 13/2009
BEIJING (Reuters) -- Sinopec Corp plans to start up a major petrochemical complex in eastern China"s Zhejiang province by the end of the first quarter of 2010 at the earliest, industry officials said on Tuesday, largely in line with the original schedule.

The 1-million-tonne-per-year (tpy) ethylene complex, in Zhenhai, Ningbo city, will be the fourth major ethylene project to come on line since this year as China moves to reduce its dependence on imported petrochemicals.

Sinopec, Asia"s largest refiner and China"s biggest maker of ethylene -- a building block for petrochemical products from plastics to synthetic rubber -- aims to eventually double the Zhenhai complex"s capacity to 2 million tpy, making it one of the world"s biggest.

"Construction will be completed by the end of the year. Tentatively, the schedule for startup will be the end of the first quarter or early in the second quarter," said an industry source familiar with the project, which cost close to 25 billion yuan ($3.66 billion).

The petrochemical plant is linked with a refinery in Zhenhai, the country"s biggest with a primary crude run capacity of 440,000 barrels per day.

So far this year, China has launched two ethylene plants, one in northwest Xinjiang region and another in southeast Fujian province, and is set bring a third on line in the northern port of Tianjin by the end of December. The three plants have a combined capacity of 2.8 million tpy.

The building wave, led by Sinopec and PetroChina, follows a string of crackers brought on line in 2005.


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