PetroChina begins $4.5-B refinery expansion

(Reuters) - PetroChina has launched a $4.52 B program to expand a subsidiary refinery in southern China into an integrated petrochemicals complex, Chinese state media reported on Thursday.

China's second-largest state refiner is expected to keep crude oil refining capacity at the Guangxi Petrochemical plant unchanged while adding 14 major petrochemical units, according to reports by state television and China Chemical News.

The program is part of PetroChina's plan to expand in petrochemicals and cut refined fuel production, in line with a broad industry trend to fill a supply gap of high-end petrochemicals.

The Guangxi refinery, based in Qinzhou city, has crude oil refining capacity of 200,000 barrels per day (bpd).

Under the investment, PetroChina will add facilities with total annual capacity of 2.76 MMt, including a 1.2 MMtpy ethylene unit, a 550,000 tpy gasoline hydrocracking unit and a 350,000 tpy aromatics unit.

After the expansion, slated for completion in 2025, the plant's production of gasoline and diesel will drop, China Chemical News said.

(Reporting by Chen Aizhu Editing by David Goodman)

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