By Steve Toloken, Plastics News staff
Beijing -- Three Chinese factories making olefins from coal are slated to start-up this year, part of a serious look that Beijing is taking at using its large coal reserves to reduce its heavy dependence on imported polyolefins.
But before the government lifts some restrictions it imposed in May 2009 and allows more projects making polyethylene (PE) and polypropylene (PP) from coal, analysts say that government officials will want to see more details on the economic and environmental performance of the factories.
Speaking at a recent industry conference in Beijing, several Chinese petrochemical industry officials urged the government to give coal-to-olefins work high priority, considering that the country imports about half of its PE and one-third of its PP.
The three projects starting this year will provide a boost to China's polyolefin supplies, according to Sun Weishan, the vice general secretary of the Beijing-based China Petroleum and Chemical Industry Association.
Those three projects are in Datang, in Inner Mongolia, with capacity for 460 000 tonnes of PP; Baotou, also in Inner Mongolia, with 600 000 tonnes of PE and in the Ningxia Autonomous Region, with 500 000 tonnes of PE.
The factories, in the coal belt of northern and western China, will have about 6.9 percent of the country's current PO capacity, Sun said.
Sun was speaking at the Flexpo 2010 conference, held 9-11 June in Beijing, and sponsored by Houston-based consulting firm Chemical Market Resources Inc. and the Beijing-based China National Chemical Information Center.
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