Refinery capacity to increase
By Wan Zhihong (China Daily)
Updated: 2008-05-06 09:13

Asia's largest refiner Sinopec has said it plans to increase the capacity of its Zhenhai refinery by 15 percent by next September, a move to boost the company's fuel and chemical production.

Production capacity of the Zhenhai refinery will then reach 23 million tons per year, Sinopec said on its website on Monday.

The largest refinery under the company, this year its capacity will account for 12 percent of Sinopec, it said on the website.

The expansion will help provide feedstock for a 1-million-ton-per-year ethylene facility in Zhenhai, which is now under construction.

The ethylene facility is scheduled to become operational in 2010, according to Sinopec.

Sinopec in March said it would reduce the production of aromatics from crude to increase its output of gasoline to ensure market supply of the fuel. Its Zhenhai refinery could lose as much as 12 million yuan ($1.72 million) by reducing output of the more valuable chemical.

Sinopec plans to process 174 million tons of crude oil in 2008, and its production of refined oil products will reach 104 million tons this year, company President Su Shulin had said earlier.

The company plans to produce 42 million tons of crude oil and 9 billion cu m of natural gas in 2008, he said.

In the first quarter of this year, the company processed 41.89 million tons of crude oil, an increase of 9.57 percent, said its first-quarter report. However, its refining business saw 20.64 billion yuan in losses in the first quarter, compared with a profit of 4.38 billion yuan a year earlier.

Chinese oil refiners have suffered losses as they have been unable to pass on surging international crude oil prices to customers because of the government's control over domestic prices of gasoline and other refined oil products.

PetroChina, the nation's largest oil producer, said its first-quarter profit fell 31.5 percent, with big refining losses cutting the company's earnings.

Earlier this year, Sinopec had received 12.3 billion yuan in government subsidies to compensate for losses incurred because of government price controls. The funds comprise 4.9 billion yuan to be counted as 2007 income and 7.4 billion yuan as income for the first quarter of this year.

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