(Reuters) -- China has granted environmental clearance and approved technical review of a US$8.7 bln refinery and petrochemical joint venture between Sinopec and Kuwait. The venture, to be built in southern coastal city Zhanjiang, includes a 300,000 bpd refinery and a 1 mln tps ethylene complex, awaits final state approval.
The venture will be equally owned by Sinopec Group. Kuwait could scout for a second or third foreign partner for joint funding upon final approval. This venture will mark the foray of Kuwait into direct marketing and retail access in China. China, the world's fastest expanding major fuel market which has long been dominated by oil duopoly Sinopec and PetroChina. For China, which now imports over half of its crude requirements, a commitment to receive long-term oil supplies from an exporter such as Kuwait is essential. Kuwait, the world's seventh-largest crude exporter, aims eventually to export 500,000 bpd of crude to China, or double its target for this year.