Mon, May 29, 2017 - Page 16 News List

CPC considers US investments

RED TAPE:The company expects a September start date, but said there are certain regulations for state-owned firms that could slow its foray into the changing market

Staff writer, with CNA

State-owned CPC Corp, Taiwan (CPC, 台灣中油) is considering investing in shale gas extraction and a petrochemical plant in the US, company chairman Derek Chen (陳金德) said yesterday.

Chen is scheduled to depart for the US on June 14 on a fact-finding visit.

Chen said that CPC and its affiliates would like to invest about US$10 billion in the US, with the aim of adopting more advanced technology to produce higher-quality ethylene at a lower cost.

He said the first step is next month’s visit to the US, when he will be accompanied by Minister Without Portfolio Ho Mei-yueh (何美玥), to explore the possibility of investing in natural gas in Louisiana.

One issue of concern is whether petrochemical products from a CPC downstream factory would have a strong market in the US, Chen said, noting that since US President Donald Trump took office in January, he has made US manufacturing a top priority.

If the project gets off the ground, Chen forecast a September start date.

However, he added that state-owned companies like CPC are subject to certain regulations that could slow overseas investment efforts and hamper quick adaptation to changing markets.

Separately, CPC yesterday said it is to raise its domestic gasoline and diesel prices by NT$0.2 per liter, starting today. It is to be the company’s second price hike in two weeks.

After the increase, prices at CPC gas stations nationwide are to be NT$21.7 per liter for super diesel, NT$24.1 per liter for 92-octane unleaded, NT$25.6 per liter for 95-octane unleaded and NT$27.6 per liter for 98-octane unleaded, the company said.

The prices reflect a rise last week in international crude oil prices after OPEC and non-OPEC producers on Thursday agreed to extend oil output cuts for another nine months until March next year.

A drop in US oil stocks for the seventh straight week also pushed crude prices higher, CPC said.

CPC calculates its weekly fuel prices based on a weighted oil price formula made up of 70 percent Dubai crude and 30 percent Brent crude.

After the increase in international crude prices, CPC’s average price of crude oil was calculated at US$52.44 per barrel this week, up from US$51.28 per barrel last week, it said.

Privately owned refiner Formosa Petrochemical Corp (台塑石化) on Saturday announced similar price increases for this week.

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