China's largest oil refining and ethylene integrated joint venture was officially launched on Friday in Quanzhou, East China's Fujian Province.
A combined investment between Sinopec, ExxonMobil and Saudi Aramco, the new Fujian petrochemical complex will be able to produce 12 million tons of refined oil and 800,000 tons of ethylene annually by 2008, with new facilities to be added to the existing 4-million-ton-per-annum oil refining unit.
The three parties signed the joint venture contract on Friday and work on the site's infrastructure has begun.
Fujian Refining & Chemical Co Ltd, a subsidiary of Asia's largest oil refiner Sinopec, owns a 50 per cent stake in the new utility, with ExxonMobil and Saudi Aramco controlling 25 per cent each.
Besides oil refining and ethylene production, the giant complex also includes other facilities to yield polyethylene, polypropylene and para-xylene products. It also has supporting infrastructure, such as a 300,000-ton dock.
Saudi Aramco will supply crude oil from the world's largest oil exporter Saudi Arabia for the refining facilities. The three investors are also about to set up a refined oil retailing company in Fujian Province to sell refined oil produced by the under-construction petrochemical complex.
Leaders from the three investors yesterday declined to give detailed information about the oil retailing joint venture.
Both central and local government officials have attached great importance to the Fujian project since negotiations started in 1995.
Jia Qinglin, chairman of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference's National Committee, said in a letter of congratulations that the petrochemical joint venture is expected to contribute to advancing China's petrochemical industry as well as boosting the regional economy.
"The advanced technology, reasonable product portfolio and robust market demand within Fujian Province will ensure a competitive success for our three-party joint venture," Wang Tianpu, president of Sinopec, told a news briefing before the ground-breaking ceremony in Fuzhou, capital city of Fujian Province.
Boasting business relations with China for over 100 years, ExxonMobil sees the Fujian project as "a significant milestone" to continue its business involvement with China in the long term, said E.G. Galante, the company's senior vice-president.
Saudi Aramco said through the world-class Fujian petrochemical joint venture the company will continue to work with Sinopec.