The project, which is now owned and operated by joint venture CNOOC and Shell Petrochemicals Company (CSPC), involves ongoing construction of an ethylene cracker and several derivatives units as part of expansion plan.

CNOOC general manager assistant and CNOOC Oil & Petrochemicals general manager Dong Xiaoli said: “These government and regulatory approvals complete the official handover from CNOOC to CSPC and are an important step towards producing more petrochemicals for China’s growing domestic markets.”

The facilities are being built next to CSPC’s existing petrochemical complex in the Daya Bay Economic and Technological Development Zone, Huizhou, Guangdong Province in a bid to boost ethylene production capacity by 1.2 million tons per year, which is nearly twice the existing capacity.

The new facilities are planned to be commissioned in the fourth quarter of next year.

Royal Dutch Shell global Chemicals business executive vice-president Graham van’t Hoff said: “Today marks another positive step for Shell’s Chemicals business.

“With our strategic partner CNOOC, we are pursuing growth in the expanding Chinese petrochemicals market, and delivering to meet the needs of our customers. The focus is now on best in class project delivery.”

The expansion project also involves construction of the styrene monomer and propylene oxide (SMPO) plant in China.

Upon completion of expansion project, the petrochemical complex is expected to produce 150,000 tons per annum (tpa) of ethylene oxide, 480,000 tpa of ethylene glycol, 630,000 tpa of styrene monomer, 300,000 tpa of propylene oxide, and 600,000 tpa of high quality polyols.

Image: The petrochemical complex under construction in China. Photo: courtesy of Royal Dutch Shell.