Tue, Apr 17, 2018 - Page 12 News List

CPC looking to move cracker abroad

INDIA INVESTMENT:The firm is still mulling a plan to build a petrochemical park in Mundra, but faces funding uncertainty after Adani Group pulled its planned funding

By Kuo Chia-erh  /  Staff reporter

State-owned oil refiner CPC Corp, Taiwan (台灣中油) yesterday said it is in talks with potential partners to move its older Kaohsiung naphtha cracker to another country after a deal with Indonesia was aborted.

The company prefers to relocate the entire plant abroad, CPC chairman Tai Chein (戴謙) told the legislature yesterday, adding that it would take nearly nine months to restart the cracker in a new site.

CPC is also considering dismantling the plant and selling the refining equipment, company vice president Ann Bih (畢淑蒨) told the Taipei Times via telephone.

The company plans to outline a detailed timetable for the disposal of the cracker in the first half of this year, Bih added.

CPC’s naphtha cracker in Kaohsiung’s Nanzih District (楠梓) has been shut down since the end of 2015. The firm promised residents that it would remove the facilities by the end of this year due to environmental concerns.

CPC aims to maximize the use of the idled plant and would keep residents updated about the relocation plan, Minister of Economic Affairs Shen Jong-chin (沈榮津) said.

The talks came after Indonesia’s state-owned oil and gas company, PT Pertamina, earlier this month turned down an agreement to buy the cracker, citing in part the plant’s relatively small capacity.

The facilities can produce 500,000 tonnes of ethylene, only half of the 1 million tonnes generated by its global peers, CPC said in a statement.

Separately, CPC said it is still assessing the feasibility of investing NT$170 billion (US$5.78 billion) in India’s petrochemical industry after it last year signed a memorandum of understanding with New Delhi to build a petrochemical park in India’s Mundra special economic zone.

The company plans to complete the assessment in September, but must first overcome some problems, Tai said.

India’s Adani Group, which previously planned to take a 26 percent share in the project, has changed its mind and said it would not invest, he said.

Despite the uncertainty of the government-backed investment, some local petrochemical firms, such as China Petrochemical Development Corp (中石化), have over the past few months expressed interest in expanding their presence in India’s growing market.

The size of India’s petrochemical industry is estimated to reach US$400 billion by 2025, according to data compiled by the Taiwan External Trade Development Council (外貿協會).

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