Formosa Plastics Group (FPG, 台塑集團) yesterday said it does not plan to halt expansion of the nation’s sixth naphtha cracker in Yunlin County’s Mailiao Township (麥寮) after the Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) told the group to resubmit its environmental impact assessment (EIA) report.
“We hope to get the permits as soon as possible, because the expansion would help reduce emissions and ensure industrial safety by eliminating outdated facilities,” group vice president Lin Sang-chi (林善志) said by telephone.
Lin’s remarks came after the EPA on Wednesday rejected the group’s original report, saying it must include more detailed information on emissions reductions and potential health risks for evaluation.
Formosa Plastics Group, the nation’s biggest industrial conglomerate, has long been criticized for causing health problem risks in Yunlin because of its naphtha cracker.
The Mailiao complex, which includes the nation’s first privately run oil refinery, started operations in 1988.
The NT$16.7 billion (US$544.7 million) expansion project has been frozen since 2010 amid a row over emission standards and concerns about health risks.
A separate environmental report prepared by Formosa Plastics Group on cutting carbon emissions for the project was approved in July 2012.
The EPA confirmed the approval at Wednesday’s meeting, giving the company permission to carry out part of the expansion plan worth NT$7.88 billion.
The investment is to be made by the group’s four major units and 12 other petrochemical firms.
The expansion is expected to increase the naphtha cracker’s annual output by 981,400 tonnes, the group said in a statement.
Lin denied local media reports that the group was considering dropping the expansion plan.
However, it might take the group longer than one year to conclude the environmental impact assessment, as it must take environmental groups’ opinions into account, he said.
Meanwhile, Formosa Plastics Group is to accelerate its capacity expansion plans in the US amid a favorable investment environment there.
The group operates three plants in Texas, Louisiana and Delaware.
It plans to allocate US$9.4 billion and US$3.3 billion for capacity expansions at its Louisiana and Texas plants respectively.
Formosa Plastics Group chairman William Wong (王文淵) last month said the group was looking into investment opportunities in Texas as it has abundant reserves of shale oil.
Additional reporting by CNA
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