Short items

Sinopec to expand refinery in Shanghai 

Sinopec, the Chinese petroleum company, has signed a cooperation framework agreement with the Shanghai municipal government to expand its refinery facilities and ethylene production capacities. Details of the deal are undisclosed but the newspaperChina Business News  quoted a Sinopec source as saying that the company plans to build a 12 million tonne refinery in Shanghai to expand its total refinery capacity in the city to 40 million tonnes. The Sinopec integrated project will also include new ethylene production. 

In July, the Chinese government gave Sinopec approval to expand its planned 150,000 tonne ethylene facilities to 600,000 tonnes, supplemented by new facilities to produce 300,000 tonnes polypropylene and 380,000 tonnes glycol per year. According to the Sinopec source, the company will also apply for higher production capacities in Shanghai. The Sinopec Shanghai project is the petrochemical giant’s third integrated project after its Fujian and Qingdao projects.

China launches national centre for ITER 

The Centre for China International Nuclear Fusion Energy Plan was established in the Ministry of Science and Technology on 10 October. The centre will focus on implementing ITER, the international fusion project, in China. In 2006, China, Japan, the EU, India, South Korea, Russia and the US formally agreed to fund ITER, which aims to demonstrate the scientific and technical feasibility of fusion power. 

With a total investment of €9.9 billion ($13.3 billion), ITER is the second largest joint international science project after the International Space Station. ITER will be based in France and should start operating in 2018. China’s input will account for 10 per cent of the total budget. 

China has already done a great deal to prepare for the ITER project. Last year the Institute of Plasma Physics (IPP) at the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Hefei finished building a superconducting tokamak - which produces a toroidal magnetic field capable of confining plasma - to begin ITER testing. 

Dow and Huasheng sign raw materials deal 

Dow Epoxy, part of the US chemical giant Dow, has signed a US$400 million raw materials supply agreement with Shanghai Tianyuan Huasheng Chemical Company for its two new plants under construction at the Shanghai Chemical Industry Park. 

Under the terms of the 10-year deal Huasheng, a subsidiary of the state-owned Shanghai Huayi Group, will provide caustic soda and anhydrous hydrogen chloride for Dow’s liquid epoxy resins (LER) plant and its glycerine-to-epichlorohydrin (GTE) plant scheduled to come on-stream in 2010 and 2011.

The two Dow plants will offer products to customers in coatings, electrical laminates and civil engineering sectors. Dow claims that its Shanghai LER factory will be the world’s first to recycle a purified, salt-water byproduct to use as feedstock rather than discharge it into the sea. Huasheng will use Dow’s recycled brine for its chlor-alkali production. The exchange deal fits in with the Chinese government’s goal to create a circular economy which does not waste resources.