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Asia Pulse: SHELL PLANS TO INVEST US$500 MLN IN CHINA

Mar 08, 2006
BEIJING, March 8 Asia Pulse – Royal Dutch Shell plans to invest US$500 million this year in both the upstream and downstream sectors to increase its presence in the competitive Chinese energy market, a senior executive yesterday said. “So far we have invested some US$3.5 billion in China and we hope to invest another half a billion this year,” Lim Haw Kuang, executive chairman of Shell China told a news conference yesterday in Beijing.
The new investment will be used to build new project facilities and expand the existing production, Liu Shiman, a senior official for Shell China, yesterday told China Daily on the sidelines of the news conference.
“It is one of our biggest investments in China in a single year,” Liu said.
Lim said Shell would spend the money on everything from oil and gas exploitation business to downstream refining and oil retailing.
Shell yesterday announced it had signed an agreement to acquire Koch Materials China (Hong Kong) Ltd, a deal that will more than double the size of Shell's bitumen business in the country.
Koch has interests in companies operating six bitumen manufacturing plants in China, with a total production capacity of about 4,200 tons per day.
Before the acquisition, Shell's bitumen production came from five plants, which together produced 2,400 tons per day, the company said in a statement.
Shell executives yesterday refused to disclose how much they spent to buy the China business of Koch, a US-based company involved in refining and chemicals, but said the acquired business is “well complimentary” to its existing presence in China.
“The Koch portfolio is a good fit for Shell in China with plants in areas of the country where we have no plants or weak coverage,” Egbert Veldman, vice-president of Shell's global bitumen business said at the news conference.
The deal was signed at the end of last month and Shell expects to take control of the Koch business in the second quarter of this year, subject to regulatory approval.
Global oil giants are stepping up efforts to increase their presence in China's accelerating energy market, with Shell, BP, Total and Exxon Mobil competing in the escalating rivalry.
Last Thursday, French oil company Total announced it had finalized an agreement with the country's biggest oil producer PetroChina to jointly develop a gas field in Northwest China's Ordos Basin with reserves of more than 100 billion cubic metres.
BP has set up a joint venture with Sinopec, China's biggest oil refiner, to have 500 petrol stations built in the East China's Zhejiang Province, while another JV with PetroChina will run 500 more outlets in Guangdong Province within the next three years.
Shell also has similar ambitious plans in China. Lim said it now has about 200 service stations operational in Suzhou of Jiangsu Province, and the figure is expected to hit 500 this year through the partnership with Sinopec.
The oil firm also reported robust growth in its lubricant business in China, which increased at a double-digit rate, the chairman said.
In the upstream business, Shell is working with PetroChina to develop the Changbei gas field in Northwest China's Shaanxi Province, and the project is expected to supply gas to Beijing and the northern regions before 2008, Lim said.
The company has also signed a memorandum of understanding with Shenhua Group and the local government of Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region to develop a coal-to-liquids project in the northwestern region.
“We are looking to develop wind projects in China, and are working to develop a hydrogen fuel project in Shanghai,” Lim said.
(XIC)

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