China will allow new efficient refineries

Jan 16, 1997 01:00 AM

China has not ruled out new projects for the construction of oil refineries despite concerns about overcapacity in the industry, head of the State Planning Commission Chen Jinhua said recently. Although the commission has signalled it did not want more small projects before the year 2000 it would examine proposals for big, efficient refineries -- including those proposed by foreign concerns -- on a case by case basis, he told. "If foreign investors come to China and propose joint ventures (in the refining sector) we will examine their proposals on a case by case basis," he said. "We will see whether these projects are in the interests of our policy of broad structural readjustment." Chen said existing refining capacity was now only about 70 % utilised and many refineries were too small to be efficient. He did not give any specific size for what was considered efficient but said some smaller refineries might be closed or have their technology upgraded to make them more competitive. The State Planning Commission said last year it would not approve new projects through 2000 although officials have said the thrust of the policy was to prevent construction of smaller operations and those in areas that already were not making use of existing capacity. Oil industry officials say there are more than 100 refineries around China, many of them with limited output.

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