China’s Risun Petrochemical is pushing ahead with plans for a new 300,000 b/d integrated refinery project that would further boost the country’s demand for Saudi crude, despite delays and uncertainty over the involvement of state-controlled Sinochem.

Risun is still waiting for top planning body the NDRC to give final approval for the project at Tangshan in Hebei province, near Beijing.

The company originally targeted a 2020 start-up, but the refinery now looks unlikely to come online until 2024 at the earliest, given construction will take around three years.

The Hebei government included Risun’s plant on its list of key oil and petrochemical projects last year, indicating continued support for the plans.

Risun has already completed land reclamation work, but changes to the refinery’s configurations — including the expansion of its naphtha cracker to 1.5mn t/yr from 1.2mn t/yr originally — may have added to delays in the approval process.

Risun has been in talks with state-controlled Sinochem to invest in the refinery. But negotiations have so far centred on an oil terminal with a 2mn bl very large crude carrier berth and a 6.3mn bl crude storage farm that Risun is building to serve the refinery.

Sinochem is unwilling to invest in too many refinery projects and may choose to prioritise the planned expansion of its own 240,000 b/d Quanzhou refinery in Fujian province, where it is considering adding 400,000 b/d of refining capacity, 2.4mn t/yr of ethylene and up to 3mn t/yr of paraxylene. The Quanzhou expansion plan has yet to obtain regulatory approvals and may be subject to changes.

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14th January 2021