Fri, Mar 04, 2005 - Page 11 News List

Formosa chemical to increase output to meet demand

BLOOMBERG

Formosa Petrochemical Corp (台塑石化), Taiwan's only publicly traded oil refiner, expects to raise the amount of processing capacity it uses to 92 percent this year to meet increasing demand for fuel.

Last year, the company used 83 percent of its 450,000-barrel-a-day capacity, said Su Chi-yi (蘇啟邑), the company's executive vice president yesterday.

Mailiao-based Formosa Petrochemical is increasing the amount of oil it processes into fuels to profit from surging demand, particularly from China, where official forecasts predict 8.5 percent economic growth this year.

"Demand from countries with big populations, such as China and India, is rising," Su told reporters at a luncheon yesterday.

The refiner will expand capacity by 11 percent by the end of the year to 500,000 barrels of oil a day, and to 540,000 barrels a day by the third quarter of next year.

Formosa Petrochemical, which controls about 30 percent of Taiwan's gasoline and diesel market, generated about 65 percent of its sales from oil products, of which 45 percent were to customers abroad, Su said.

The company's refining margin, the difference between oil product prices and crude oil costs, averaged about US$10 a barrel last year, he said.

Formosa Petrochemical and state-owned rival Chinese Petroleum Corp (中油), the nation's only oil refiners, also have units that process naphtha, an oil product, into ethylene for making plastics and fibers.

Formosa Petrochemical's unaudited 2004 net income was NT$50.2 billion (US$1.6 billion), more than double the NT$18.9 billion the refiner posted in 2003.

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