ExxonMobil says no near-term plans to expand Fujian refinery

SHANGHAI, March 30 (Reuters) – U.S. energy major ExxonMobil
and its partners have no near-term plans to expand
China’s Fujian 240,000 barrel-per-day (bpd) refining and
petrochemical plant, a senior Exxon official said on
Wednesday .

However, Exxon said the joint venture was exploring ways to
raise production at the existing refinery by improving the
plant’s efficiency.

“We are looking at the existing refinery and looking to see
how much more we can produce out of the existing structure by
reducing bottlenecks,” Paul Theys, Chairman of ExxonMobil China
Investment, told reporters in Shanghai.

“But if you are asking whether we have plans to
substantially boost capacity by expanding the plant in the near
term, then no,” he said when asked about expansion plans for the
refinery.

Exxon said in June it was conducting early studies to expand
the plant, a $5 billion venture, in which the U.S. oil giant
owns a 25 percent stake, with top refiner Sinopec Corp
and Saudi Aramco.

The joint venture may have temporarily put aside expansion
plans as a raft of new capacity, totalling some 3.7 million bpd,
is already due to come onstream between 2010 and 2015, said an
analyst who declined to be identified.

Theys did not give more details.

The 240,000 bpd refinery, integrated with a 800,000
tonne-per-year ethylene plant, is the only foreign-funded
venture in China that allows its investors a stake along the
value chain, which otherwise has been long dominated by state
oil firms.

China gave final approval to a $9 billion venture between
Sinopec Group and OPEC member Kuwait to build a refinery and
petrochemical complex in southern Guangdong province, two
sources told Reuters on Monday.[ID:nTOE72605G]

(Reporting by Fayen Wong; Editing by Ken Wills)

ExxonMobil says no near-term plans to expand Fujian refinery