News Code : 44301

Petrotahlil - ExxonMobil has started early construction at its proposed Huizhou petrochemical complex in south China, which it targets to bring on line in 2023.

The complex will include a 1.6mn t/yr flexible feed steam cracker and downstream polyethylene and polypropylene plants that will produce material used in packaging, automotive, industrial and consumer products.

A final investment decision (FID) for the project in the Dayawan Industrial Park has yet to be made, ExxonMobil said. The project still requires government permits, and ExxonMobil's own competitiveness appraisal, before FID can be reached.

But the announcement that early-phase work has started represents some progress at the project, which was first announced in November 2017, just before US President Donald Trump visited China. US-China relations have deteriorated since then.

The online ceremony on 22 April was attended by Chinese vice premier Han Zheng, state media said.

The Huizhou complex will use advanced proprietary technologies in direct crude steam cracking and performance polymers manufacturing. ExxonMobil would own 100pc of the project, which is relatively unusual for a foreign investment in China.

The company's presence in China includes a 25pc joint venture stake in a 240,000 b/d refinery and associated 800,000t/yr ethylene steam cracker in Quanzhou, in neighbouring Fujian province.

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