BP starts work on PTA plant in China's Guandong province

BP broke ground Monday on at purified terephthalic acid plant in China's Guandong province. The 240,000 tonnes/year plant is scheduled for completion in late 2002. Construction of the 350,000 tonne/year PTA facility is set for completion in December 2002.

BP broke ground Monday on a purified terephthalic acid (PTA) plant at Zhuhai in China's Guandong Province.

Construction of the 350,000 tonne/year PTA facility is set for completion in December 2002.

The project represents BP�s largest single capital investment in China to date and "underlines our continuing belief as a global company in international investment and the future of the Chinese economy�, said BP Managing Director Dr. Chris Gibson-Smith.

The plant, which will use BP's proprietary PTA technology, will be owned and operated by the Amoco Zhuhai Chemical Co., a 3-year-old joint venture between BP, with 80% interest; the Fuhua Group, with 15%; and the China National Chemical Fiber Co., with 5%.

Zhuhai General Manager Linda Shum said the PTA market in China is very strong. Led by robust growth in polyester fibers, demand is expected to grow at more than 8%/year.

Current demand totals close to 4 million tonnes/year, yet production capacity is only 2 million tonnes, Shum said.

BP is also conducting a feasibility study with partner Sinopec for the construction of another world-scale PTA manufacturing facility near Shanghai�the site the company�s planned ethylene and derivatives complex.

PTA is the primary and preferred raw material for making polyester fibers, films and container resin. The textile industry uses about 90% of the PTA consumed in China.

BP is the world�s largest producer of PTA as well as its feedstock paraxylene. With wholly-owned PTA plants in North America, Europe and Asia plus several joint venture plants in Asia and South America, BP produces more than 7 million tonnes/year of PTA�about a third of the world�s total capacity.

To date BP has invested about $2.5 billion in China, the most by any foreign-owned energy company. Projects worth another $1.5 billion, including the Zhuhai PTA plant, are at the planning or construction stage.

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