Taipei, May 14 (CNA) The Kuokuang Petrochemical Technology Co. will complete a feasibility assessment by May 2013 for a planned cooperation project with Malaysia in the Southeast Asian nation, the state-run oil refiner CPC Corp., Taiwan (CPC) said Monday.
Chen Ming-hui, a spokesman for CPC, which holds a 43 percent stake of Kuokuang, said that upon completion, the assessment report will be submitted to the Ministry of Economic Affairs for approval.
Chen said Kuokuang has been looking for suitable overseas locations ever since a proposed petrochemical investment project in western Taiwan was scrapped in 2011. Both Indonesia and Malaysia were options, and Kuokuang's board of directors chose the latter after careful evaluation, he added.
His announcement came following local media and wire reports that Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak announced a day earlier that his country will work with a Taiwanese petrochemical company to launch a US$120 billion investment project for oil refining, naphtha cracking and petrochemical production.
Chen added that the CPC's fifth naphtha cracking plant in Taiwan will be closed in 2015 and that since the equipment in the plant still has a life expectancy of 20-25 years, the company will therefore consider relocating the equipment to Malaysia.
Kuokuang had planned to build a naphtha cracking and petrochemical complex in a coastal wetland area of central Taiwan's Changhua County, but the project was scrapped after local residents and environmental impact assessment teams raised concerns that it would consume too much water and generate high levels of pollution in the ecologically sensitive area.
The other Kuokuang shareholders are Far Eastern Group, Chang Chun Group, the China Man-made Fiber Corp., Fubon Financial Holding Co. and Ho Tung Chemical Corp.
In related news, meanwhile, the Petrochemical Industry Association of Taiwan said that in March, Taiwanese petrochemical companies and China's China Petrochemical Corporation (Sinopec Group) jointly set up offices in Zhangzhou, in China's Fujian Province, to pave the way for the establishment of a petrochemical venture in the Gulei Development Zone there.
The association said the authorities are in principle not against the venture, which is still pending review and approval by the governments of Taiwan and China.
(By Lin Meng-ju, Wei Shu and Jamie Wang)