BP mulls expansion of petrochemicals JV with Sinopec

Egged on by China's booming economy that constantly exerts an increase in demand for petrochemicals and transport fuels is prompting BP Plc to look for possible further investments in petrochemicals and refining, as well as opportunities in the coal-to-liquids sector,. BP is mulling the option of adding 25-30% production capacity to its existing joint ethylene cracker venture with China Petroleum & Chemical Corp. (Sinopec), known as the Shanghai Secco Petrochemical Co. BP has a 50% stake in the US$2.7 bln venture, with a capacity to produce 900,000 metric tpa of ethylene. BP is also mulling more investment in China's petrochemicals sector, including Purified Terephthalic Acid (PTA), in which BP has "very environmentally efficient, competitive, and low-cost technology". BP is also interested in the coal-to-liquids business in China, including methanol, dimethyl ether, or DME, and diesel, but its plans are still at a "very early" stage, and is dependent on clarification by the Chinese government about the regulations governing the sector. The government is still to take a position on whether to permit methanol or DME produced from coal to be used as transport fuel.
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