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Sun 6 Sep 2009 01:33 PM

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Feb 2010 start date seen for $9bn Kuwait JV refinery

Chinese official says final approval may be given in Jan with work to start shortly after.

Construction of a $9bn Kuwait-China joint venture refinery could begin in February 2010, a top official said on Sunday.

The mega refinery and petrochemical complex project has been proposed for the southwestern Chinese city of Zhanjiang.

The long-awaited project, jointly owned by Kuwait Petroleum International's parent KPC, Asia's top refiner Sinopec and potential international partners, hopes to gain final approval from China's top economic planning agency in the coming few months.

The mammoth plant is slated for completion by the end of 2013.

"If the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) grants final approval in January, full-fledged construction will start in the mid-February," Zhong Shengbao, Zhanjiang's development and reform bureau deputy secretary, said in comments published by KUNA News Agency, citing the Guangzhou Daily.

The facilities will have a crude oil refining capacity of 300,000 barrels per day (bpd) and ethylene production capacity of one million tons per year.

"With its refinery alone, the project is expected to boost our industrial output value by $9.5 billion, GDP growth $3.1 billion and local tax revenue $850 million respectively," added Zhong.

The project is expected to serve as a driving force for Kuwait towards achieving its China-bound crude oil export target of 500,000 bpd by 2015.

In 2006, the Chinese government gave a preliminary approval to construct the integrated complex and designated the Nansha district of provincial capital Guangzhou as the site.

However, the project stalled due to concern over the environment impact on the densely populated area.

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I have been here too long, same song, next verse. What will start in February 2010 ? The FEED ? Certainly not constructiona as no dsesign engineering started. Completion at the end of 2013 is more wishsful thnking. 6 years minimum from s meaningful start is more realistic.