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Construction stops at Zhenhai plant

Public opinion has forced Sinopec to suspend work on its $8.9bn petrochemical facility expansion.

In the eastern Chinese city of Ningbo, a public campaign has lead the state-owned oil and gas giant China Petrochemical Corp (Sinopec) to cease construction on its Zhenhai plant. Reflecting public sentiment, the local government has also announced that work a new portion of the facility designed to produce the industrial chemical paraxylene will not go ahead.

The increasingly-aware citizens of Ningbo feared the chemicals could be potentially harmful to themselves and the surrounding environment and had been campaigning against the planned expansions for some time. The government-run newspaper, Ningbo Daily, reported that the city's Party Chief and Mayor held meetings with some key representatives to reach a decision that reflected the will of the Ningbo's 7.6 million inhabitants.

Paraxylene, known as PX, is an important chemical in the production of plastics and other goods, which, in high doses, can cause irritation of the eyes, vomiting and respiratory discomfort.

The expansion would have been part of PetroChina and Sinopec's $22 billion plan to develop six projects on China's east coast, announced in January of this year.

Tags: China, Environment and Regulatory watch, Environment, regulatory and standards, Sinopec

Published 21st November, 2012

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