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FORBES: Van Der Veer's Shell To Plow Another $500M Into China

Chris Noon

London – Chasing the dragon? After splurging a record $800 million in 2004 and $500 million last year, Jeroen van der Veer's oil major Shell Group (nyse: RD – news – people ) said it hopes to invest another half a billion dollars in China in 2006 as it consolidates existing businesses in the country.

“We've got a range of projects underway,” a spokesman for the Shell Companies in China told Xinhua Finance News Asia. Indeed, the Anglo-Dutch multinational announced today that it had inked an agreement to acquire Koch Materials China, which is involved in the manufacture and marketing of bitumen–that black viscous residue taken from the distillation of crude petroleum–in the country. The deal should more than double the size of Shell's bitumen business in the country.
KMC has interests in companies operating six bitumen manufacturing plants in Tianjin, Xi'an, Foshan, Zhenjiang, Ezhou and Luzhou, with a total production capacity of about 4,200 tons per day, two mobile plants and a supporting technical laboratory in Beijing. The executive chairman for Shell Companies in China, Lim Haw Kuang, said, “This is an exciting opportunity for Shell in China and one that underscores a commitment to developing the downstream business portfolio. China is one of Shell's key strategic markets in the world and we are committed to growing our presence where viable opportunities are identified that offer potential for earnings growth.”
BP (nyse: BP – news – people ) and Exxon Mobil (nyse: XOM – news – people ) are two of the other major players in China with stakes in refining and service stations ventures.
CNOOC (nyse: CEO – news – people ) and Shell have built and now operate a $4.3 billion petrochemicals complex in Guangdong. It is one of the largest capital investments for a Sino-foreign joint venture project to date in the People's Republic. The complex produced its first on-specification ethylene and propylene in late January this year. Shell's other projects include a service station partnership with Sinopec in Jiangsu, and an oil shale development in Jilin Province.

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