CPC to build Taiwan naphtha cracking plant

Taiwan's state-run Chinese Petroleum Corp. (CPC) has confirmed that it is reviving a plan to build Taiwan's eighth naphtha cracking plant.

Oct 22nd, 2002

By an OGJ correspondent

TAIPEI, Oct. 22 -- Taiwan's state-run Chinese Petroleum Corp. (CPC) has confirmed that it is reviving a plan to build Taiwan's eighth naphtha cracking plant. CPC Pres. Pan Wen-yen said that the plan would be finalized within 3 months.

The plan calls for a facility that will be considerably larger in terms of both area and production capacity than Taiwan's sixth naphtha cracking plant, built and operated by the Formosa Plastics Group at Mailiao. Projected refining capacity will be 450,000 b/d of oil with an annual output of 2.6 million tonnes of ethylene, 1.63 million tonnes of propylene, and 420,000 tonnes of butadiene.

CPC first began drawing up the plan for the new naphtha plant in the early 1990s, but it eventually was shelved because of financial uncertainties, the inability to decide on a location for the project, and opposition by environmentalists. The original plan called for developing the project with the cooperation of nearly a dozen partners, and the company hopes to attract partners willing to share the cost this time as well.

Potential partners being named are Grand Pacific Petrochemical Corp., Taiwan Styrene Monomer Corp., Taiwan Polypropylene Co., the Far Eastern Group, and China Petrochemical Development Corp.

Pan said, however, that CPC is determined to carry the plan through this time and will go ahead with the project whether or not the potential partners come on board. In addition, Chang Hung-chiang, vice-president of CPC's petrochemical business department, said that the company has the financial capability to complete the project even if potential partners fail to sign on.

CPC projects that an investment of $7.2 billion will be required for the first stage of the planned cracker.

The plan has received the backing of Taiwan's Ministry of Economic Affairs with economics minister Lin I-fu saying that the ministry will actively work to encourage other companies to join the project. He added that the ministry supports Nanchou in Pingtung County as the site for building the cracker.

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