Nov. 19 (UPI) -- China's Zhejiang Hengyi, which is constructing a 175,000 barrels per day refinery in Brunei, will have the long-delayed project running by the first half of next year.
However, there was no date announced for an ambitious petrochemical complex that was the second part of this project in this country where current oil production has plunged and will only meet 53 percent of the new refinery's capacity.
"With an investment of $3.45 billion, the first phase of the project will be put into operation by 2019," Chinese news agency Xinhua said Monday as it reported on advances in the plant in this Southeast Asian, Islamic nation.
With an investment of $10 billion, the second phase is "in sight," the Xinhua report added.
Hengyi had said in the past that the refinery and aromatics complex was going to split into two parts with the first being the 175,000 barrel per day refining capacity that would export feedstock to China to be processed at Hengyi Group's existing infrastructure there.
"The second phase includes plans for further expansion of the aromatics and cracker plant, providing the building blocks for the petrochemical industry," it said on Henghyi's website.
The project start-up has seen delays. According to a 2013 report, the petrochemical complex was initially envisioned to start up by 2015, including plastics-related production.
The delays occurred as the country saw large declines in its crude oil production.
"After reaching a peak of 221,000 barrels per day in 2006 (...)production has declined by nearly half to an estimated 115,000 barrels per day in 2016. Many of Brunei's currently-producing oil and natural gas fields are aging, and much of the shallow waters around the country have been explored," according to preliminary information by the U.S. Energy Information Administration.
July 2018 data shows crude oil production in Brunei has continued to slip to 94,000 barrels per day.
Hengyi describes itself as a major global supplier of polyester. Zhejiang Hengyi Petrochemical Group has plants in Hangzhou, Shanghai, Ningbo, Dalian and other locations in China, it added.