China plans three petrochemical plants at Daqing

Eric Watkins
Senior Correspondent

LOS ANGELES, Apr. 9 -- Authorities in Daqing, China, near the projected terminus of Russia's East Siberia Pacific Ocean oil pipeline, are planning several large-scale petrochemicals developments.

According to China's National Development and Reform Commission, projects being designed include a 1.2 million-tonne/year ethylene plant, a 450,000-tpy propylene facility, and a 1 million-tpy fertilizer plant.

The plans were announced even as oil output from Daqing field, operated by a PetroChina Co. unit, has been declining in the past several years, dropping by 3.4% in 2006 to 43.41 million tonnes.

Despite the downturn, Chinese authorities expect the pipeline to make up the domestic production shortfall by delivering as much as 30,000 tpy of crude from Russia's East Siberian fields.

According to Russian state media, quoting Chinese official sources, preparations by China National Petroleum Corp. (CNPC) for the construction of a branch of the ESPO line are well under way.

"We're confident that the branch will be built, and we're conducting active preparations for this," a CNPC management source told Interfax-China, adding that CNPC has begun cooperation with Russia's Transneft for construction of the line.

Meanwhile, on Mar. 19, Konstantin Pulikovsky, head of Russia's environmental watchdog Rostekhnadzor, approved the findings of an environmental expert commission on construction of the third stage of the ESPO line, which will extend from Talakanskoye field to the town of Aldan in the Sakha (Yakutia) republic.

Contact Eric Watkins at hippalus@yahoo.com.

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