China and Saudi Arabia develop $6.3bn petrochemical plant in Zhangzhou

Zhangzhou’s Western Yark eco park. The Gulei complex is part of a drive to create a 1 trillion yuan ($140bn) petrochemical industry in Fujian (Masdggg/CC BY-SA 4.0)
Work began this week on a $6.3bn petrochemical plant in Zhangzhou, Fujian province, China. When complete in 2026, the factory is expected to produce 1.8 million tonnes of ethylene a year.

The project is a joint venture between Saudi Basic Industries Corporation (51%) and the Fujian Energy Petrochemical Group (49%). It’s the biggest single investment by a non-Chinese company in the history of Fujian, Xinhua reports.

Abdulrahman Al-Fageeh, the chief executive of Saudi Basic Industries, said the aim was to establish a petrochemical manufacturing presence in Asia.

China’s State Council estimates that this scheme has prompted a further $28bn in upstream and downstream investment – that is, facilities to supply the petrochemical plant and process the ethylene.

Ethylene is one of the most important petrochemical intermediates and is a feedstock for products such as food packaging, film, toys, food containers, bottles, pipes, antifreeze, carpets, insulation and houseware.

The Invest Fujian agency comments that the province has made petrochemicals a priority and has standardised construction of industrial parks.

China’s petrochemical industry is expanding rapidly. The State Council reports that there are 15 plants in operation and a further 12 are under construction.

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