Chinese petrochemical player eyes plant in Davao

Subscribe Now February 27, 2019 at 08:48pm

A “VERY BIG” Chinese petrochemical player is looking at putting up a petrochemical plant in Davao, according to top official at the Board of Investments (BoI).

“Pag pumasok itong petrochemical (If this petrochemical player will come in), they may bring in $1 billion,” BoI Governor Napoleon E. Concepcion told reporters last week in Makati City, noting the figure is his own estimate as the firm has yet to present a masterplan.

“The need for fuel sa kanilang (from their) perspective ay lumalaki (is getting bigger). So what they intend to do is bring in a huge Panamax to bring in crude oil and coal for their power plants,” he added.

While he did not name the company, Mr. Concepcion said it is “very big,” being the sixth biggest player in the petrochemicals industry in China.

He said representatives from the Chinese firm first visited the Philippines last year and has been in close contact with him following their second visit this year.

Mr. Concepcion said the company is initially seeking 300 hectares for its operations which can extend to over 2,000 hectares if it becomes successful.

However, the biggest problem is finding such a big parcel of land, most are in small parcels due to the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP).

“One of the biggest problems other investors have is nag-land reform tayo so the land areas, the land holdings are 1.5 to 2 hectares. So the Chinese when they look for 1,000 hectares, they’ll have to talk to 900 people. ’Yun ’yung complaint ng consul general of China sa Davao,” Mr. Concepcion said.

“It’s very difficult to improve efficiency of production, even agriculturally, unless you consolidate,” he added.

CARP mandated the redistribution of public and private agricultural lands to landless farmers and farmworkers, irrespective of tenurial arrangement.

The purpose was to have an equitable land ownership with agrarian reform beneficiaries given the chance to manage the development of their own lands.

Mr. Concepcion said the governor of the province, which is the location being eyed by the Chinese firm, expressed willingness to take on the “sweet problem” by fast-tracking the consolidation of the lands.

With the initial plan, the Chinese company can generate 3,000 jobs, Mr. Concepcion estimated.

However, Mr. Concepcion is managing expectations, as some Chinese investments did not materialize in the past.

“We’re tying to slow down because we’ve seen a lot of enthusiastic Chinese businessmen. But actually they’re speculators. They want to come and then negotiate, make feasibility plan, invite others from China to partner with, parang nag-broker lang,” he added, noting government seeks “real engagement.”

The BoI is eyeing investment pledges this year to hit the trillion mark after 2018 registered a record high at P907 billion.

Projects to drive this year’s growth are seen coming from manufacturing, infrastructure, transport and utilities.


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