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Washington Post: Kuwait eyes Dow, BP, Shell, for possible China plant

By Haitham HaddadinReuters
Saturday, May 27, 2006; 9:29 PM

KUWAIT (Reuters) – Dow Chemical Co. and either British Petroleum or Shell may be partners in a joint-venture refinery project in China that Kuwait is considering to help build, a Kuwaiti official said on Saturday.

Kuwait said in December it agreed with China to study setting up the joint venture refinery and petrochemical complex between PetroChina <0857.HK> and a unit of state-run Kuwait Petroleum Corp. (KPC).

The plant is estimated to cost about $5 billion.

“It will probably involve Dow as well as one of the international oil companies,” KPC’s CEO Hani Hussain said.

Hussain said Dow was a strategic partner to Kuwait in the EQUATE Petrochemical Company in the Gulf Arab state. Last year, KPC signed a deal with Royal Dutch Shell to work together in China while KPC’s overseas unit Kuwait Petroleum International (KPI) penned a deal with BP for investments in China.

“We have an MOU (memorandum of understanding) with Shell and BP for cooperation worldwide but the major areas will be in the Asian markets,” Hussain told reporters on the sidelines of an energy forum hosted by National Bank of Kuwait (NBK).

Kuwaiti Energy Minister Sheikh Ahmad al-Fahd al-Sbah said in December that the refinery’s capacity would likely be 300,000 to 400,000 barrels per day and it will process mainly Kuwaiti crude.

Hussain said on Saturday the plant’s capacity would be 200,000-300,000 bpd.

“It’s a joint-venture refinery as well as petrochemical complex and we are looking at details … the location is probably going to be in Guangdong (province),” Hussain added.

KPC said in December project studies and approvals will be completed in 2006 while the building will need four years.

Asked when he sees final approvals, Hussain said: “Hopefully as soon as possible. We have a high (level) Chinese delegation visiting us next week and we continuously have trips. We’d like to do this as soon as possible.”


Hussain said Kuwait was also in talks with Bangladesh over the possibility of building storage facilities there, mostly likely for refined petroleum products.

“We are talking to them, we’ll have to see if this is something that makes economic sense, that is required for them. They are also a good customer of ours,” Hussain said.

Asked if it will be for crude or oil products storage, he said: “Most likely it will be products but we will be looking to see what it is they require; we’d like to do it in a way that helps them as well as help our marketing efforts.”

KPC oversees the upstream and downstream sectors in Kuwait, which controls nearly a tenth of global oil reserves and has three domestic refineries with a total crude refining capacity of up to 930,000 barrels per day.

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