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THE WALL STREET JOURNAL: Shell Aims to Increase Investments in China

By SHAI OSTER
March 7, 2006 5:57 a.m.
BEIJING—Royal Dutch Shell PLC wants to ramp up its investments in China in its race to snatch a bigger share of the country's enormous energy market.
Shell, the world's third-biggest oil company by market value, behind Exxon Mobil Corp. and BP PLC, is looking at a wide range of projects including expanding oil-refining and gasoline-retailing as well as alternative energies such as wind farms and making synthetic fuels out of coal, said Lim Haw Kuang, executive chairman for Shell companies in China.
Last year, Shell invested about $500 million in China, bringing its total investment in the country so far to $3.5 billion. Shell said it could spend at least that much this year, but if a large project comes through, the figure could easily be bigger.
“We are not investing enough,” Mr. Lim said Tuesday while announcing the acquisition of Koch Materials China (Hong Kong) Ltd. He didn't disclose the value of the acquisition.
The purchase doubles Shell's capacity to make bitumen, which is a tar-like substance derived from oil used to coat roofs and roads, to about 700,000 metric tons a year, or about 7% of China's market. He didn't reveal the price of the deal.
Foreign oil companies are scrambling to increase their toehold ahead of the start of 2007 when China will further open its gasoline retail market as part of its terms of accession to the World Trade Organization.
Write to Shai Oster at [email protected]

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