Thu, Nov 30, 2017 - Page 1 News List

CPC mulling NT$170bn investment in India: minister

By Kuo Chia-erh  /  Staff reporter

CPC Corp, Taiwan’s Kaohsiung oil refinery is pictured on Oct. 19, 2015.

Photo: Chang Chung-yi, Taipei Times

State-run CPC Corp, Taiwan (CPC, 中油) is considering investing NT$170 billion (US$5.67 billion) in a new petrochemical park in India, Minister of Economic Affairs Shen Jong-chin (沈榮津) said yesterday.

The investment would include building a naphtha cracker and producing petrochemical products, such as ethylene and aromatics, to meet rising demand in the Indian market, CPC spokeswoman Ann Bih (畢淑倩) said by telephone.

The company will soon conduct a feasibility study for the project, Bih said, adding that the company is seeking an alliance with Indian petrochemical firms to jointly explore business opportunities in Southeast Asia.

The petrochemical park is to be built at the Mundra special economic zone, according to a report by the Chinese-language Liberty Times (the Taipei Times’ sister paper).

Shen’s and Bih’s remarks were in response to Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Kuan Bi-ling’s (管碧玲) criticism of CPC, with the lawmaker saying the company had inked memorandums of understanding (MOU) with India and Indonesia on Oct. 6, both of which relate to the sale of the company’s suspended naphtha cracker in Kaohsiung.

Kuan said that CPC should not have signed MOUs with two suitors over the same matter at the same time.

Based in Kaohsiung’s Nanzih District (楠梓), the nation’s fifth naphtha cracker has been closed since the end of 2015. CPC has been trying to sell the facility to foreign buyers for the past two years.

Shen said the MOUs with India and Indonesia are two different projects, adding that Indonesia would be the preferred buyer for CPC’s naphtha cracker.

CPC is conducting an assessment of the relocation of the naphtha cracker to Indonesia, which should be completed before January at the earliest, Shen said.

Apart from the export of the whole plant, CPC aims to establish a complete supply chain of petrochemicals and develop an industrial hub in Indonesia, CPC chairman Tai Chein (戴謙) said at the legislature.

In related news, CPC yesterday confirmed that one of its contractors, Lumax International Corp (巨路國際), has won another 25 bids from CPC since August, even after a nationwide blackout.

Lumax officials did not follow standard operating procedures when replacing power supply system components at a natural gas power plant in Taoyuan’s Datan Township (大潭), which caused a massive blackout that affected more than 6.68 million users in August.

CPC declined to elaborate on the why Lumax won those bids, but said that last month it filed a motion to suspend the contractor’s right to participate in public bids.

Lumax appealed the ruling to the Public Construction Commission, which has yet to rule on the issue, a CPC official told the Taipei Times.

However, Lumax has the right to execute those 25 bids even if the commission rejects the appeal, as those contracts have been awarded, according to the Government Procurement Act (政府採購法), CPC said.

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