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Bataan eager to host naphtha cracker plant of JG Summit

Manila Bulletin| By Bernie Cahiles-Magkilat 
The local government of Bataan is willing to compromise on the location if only to push through the construction of the country?s first naphtha cracker plant.

This was the tone of Bataan Governor Enrique Garcia during a talk with reporters at the sidelines of the opening of Bataan Technology Park Inc. (BTPI) museum.

Garcia said that a dialogue with the Gokongwei group, which has proposed to set up its own naphtha cracker plant in Batangas, is being scheduled as soon as possible.

We are going to hold a dialogue so as not to delay again the naphtha cracker project. We have to come up with a compromise, Garcia said.

Although Garcia has maintained that the naphtha cracker plant should be placed in the 700hectare Bataan Petrochemical Park noting that Bataan has been proclaimed as the Petrochemical zone in the country, he said ?we have nothing to lose if we agree on a common agenda for the industry.

On the other hand, he also acknowledged that the JG Summit Petrochemical Corp. was able to put up two midstream projects in Batangas: Polyethylene and polypropylene plants.

The Bataan Petrochemical Park, on the other hand, located in Limay, is host to Bataan Polyethylene Corp., Philippine Raisins Inc. and Petrochemical Corp. of Asia and the Pacific.

The naphtha cracker plant is a magnet therefore ideally the upstream and the midstream must go together,? he said.

He also cited all the other advantages of locating in Bataan including a no traffic zone, an easy access to the Subic Bay Freeport, the presence of Petron refinery as source of raw materials among others.

Garcia further noted there is a need to put up with a bigger capacity naphtha cracker plant to come up with a viable project.

JGSPC has proposed a 350,000 metric ton capacity naphtha cracker plant with an estimated cost of $300 million but the governmentowned PNOC-Petrochemical Development Corp. has proposed of a bigger plant capacity at a cost of $700 million.

Sometime in 1988, the location for the naphtha cracker plant was a big issue that ended up in a court battle when a Taiwanese owned project sought to locate in Batangas.

This was contested by Garcia and the Supreme Court then ruled in their favor that the petrochemical industry should be in Bataan.

Since then, no naphtha cracker was ever put up in the country. Nonetheless, some midstream petrochemical plants including that of the Gokongwei-owned PP and PE.





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