ZHOUSHAN, China (Reuters) – The Chinese city of Zhoushan is in talks with oil major Exxon Mobil Corp <XOM.N> to build a $7 billion (£5.3 billion) ethylene plant in the city south of Shanghai, it said in a statement released on Wednesday.
The facility would have annual production capacity of 1.5 million to 1.8 million tonnes, the statement said, making it larger than the 1.2 million-tonnes-per-year plant planned for southern Guangdong province.
The move comes as China, the world’s top chemicals consumer, sets out to complete the biggest expansion in petrochemical production in its history, with at least 13 ethylene complexes already planned in the next five years.
The push will include giving greater access to global majors to its massive chemicals market to produce plastics, coatings and adhesives for the fast-growing consumer industries.
Zhoushan, an island about 145 km (90 miles) south of Shanghai and east of the port of Ningbo, said it wants to attract investment in downstream chemicals, particularly in ethylene, with local refiner Zhejiang Petrochemical ready to start a 20-million-tonnes-per-year oil refining and petrochemical complex.
The city government also said it is in talks with United States-based conglomerate Honeywell for a 10,000-tonnes-per-year catalyst production project.
(Reporting by Meng Meng and Dominique Patton; editing by Richard Pullin and Christian Schmollinger)