PetroChina in Scottish plant talks
Beijing, June 20, 2009
PetroChina, an arm of state-owned China National Petroleum Corporation, mainland China's biggest producer of oil, is in talks for an investment in a Scottish refinery owned by British chemical maker Ineos, a local councillor said.
This is the Chinese firm's first foray into the refining sector in Europe, according to a report in our sister publication, the Gulf Daily News.
The talks come just weeks after PetroChina's $2.2 billion bid to buy nearly half of Singapore Petroleum Company, which owns one of the island state's largest refineries, and as the Chinese major was close to finalising another refinery investment in Japan.
Privately-owned Ineos said that it was in talks with a number of potential partners about investing in Grangemouth, but that the site remained a strategic part of the group.
The heavily-indebted chemicals maker secured a waiver from its lenders of covenants on debts late last month, to give it more time to work out a restructuring plan.
PetroChina officials in Beijing confirmed the firm is looking at the Grangemouth refinery, but cautioned it is premature to predict any deal given the discussions are at preliminary stage and given weak global refining margins.
'It's nothing unusual for PetroChina to look beyond Asia. The key issue is if it's a good asset. A refinery in Europe will aid our trading activities in Europe,' said a trading manager at PetroChina. – TradeArabia News Service