The Shanghai Secco Petrochemical Company Ltd (SECCO) has broken ground on a 900,000 tonne/year ethylene cracker plant last week. The construction at the Shanghai Chemical Industrial Park was launched by Huang Ju, member of the Politbureau, Central Committee of Communist Party of China and Party Secretary of Shanghai Municipality.

The key participants at the event included Chen Jinhua, vice chairman of CPPCC, Sheng Huanren, member of NPC, Chen Liangyu, mayor of Shanghai Municipality, Li Yizhong, CEO of the Sinopec Group and chairman of Sinopec Corp, Jiang Yiren, executive vice mayor of Shanghai, Wang Jiming, president of Sinopec Corp, Cao Xianghong, vice president of Sinopec Corp, Byron Grote, BP managing director and CEO BP Chemicals, Gary Dirks, BP group vice president and CEO of BP China, and Graham Hunt, vice chairman of SECCO.

SECCO is a joint venture between BP, Sinopec and Shanghai Petrochemical Corporation (SPC) with equity holdings of 50:30:20 per cent respectively. The complex is being constructed in Shanghai Chemical Industrial Park and, with a total investment of $2.74 billion, represents one of the largest chemical ventures in China.

The SECCO complex will comprise a 900,000 tonne/year naphtha-fed ethylene cracker and downstream derivative petrochemical plants, including combined polyethylene (600,000 tonne/year), polypropylene (250,000 tonne/year) and polystyrene (300,000 tonne/year).

The SECCO complex is expected to begin operation in 2005. Using the world’s most advanced technology, combined annual production will be 2.28 million tonnes of high quality chemical products. These will supply primarily the domestic market and serve as import substitutes to meet constantly increasing market demand.

Construction of the A$300 million (US$150 million) pipeline project to bring gas from Victoria to Adelaide in Australia is on track to start mid-year following the granting of a pipeline permit by the Victorian state government.

The permit is the last major step in the regulatory process governing the go-ahead for the planned 680-kilometre pipeline and clears the way for financial close on the project.

The proponents of the project Ð joint venture partners Origin Energy and Australian National Power Ð already have permission to build the South Australian section of the pipeline, having secured a South Australian Pipeline Licence in early February.

Victoria’s Energy Minister, Candy Broad, gave the permit after a comprehensive six-month study involving state agencies, local councils, environmental and indigenous groups and land holders along the proposed pipeline route and the public exhibition of an Environment Effects Report last year.

SEA Gas Directors Andrew Stock and Ed Metcalfe said the project would meet the need in South Australia and Victoria for a new independent source of energy.

The open access, 360mm diameter, 15MPa pipeline will allow Origin Energy, Australian National Power and other interested parties to ship up to 70 petajoules a year Ð lifting the inward capacity for gas into Adelaide by more than 80 per cent.

Supporters say the SEA Gas pipeline will alleviate gas supply security issues in South Australia and Victoria, create direct regional benefits of more than A$40 (US$20) million along the construction corridor and up to A$1 billion in future offshore gas developments in Victoria. It will help promote development of the Minerva and Yolla gas fields, create new markets for Otway Basin gas discoveries, particularly the new Thylacine and Geographe gas fields and contributing to Australia’s ability to meet its greenhouse gas emission commitments.

The pipeline is expected to start operations in October 2003.