Pemex to Chose Partners for US$2bn Fénix Project by Year-End

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The PPQ petrochemicals unit of Mexico's state oil company Pemex plans to decide on which partners to work with on the US$2bn first phase of the Fénix petrochemicals project by year-end after receiving eight partnership proposals earlier this month, project executive director Arturo García told BNamericas.

The project is planned for the Gulf coast and will have production capacity of 2 million tons a year (mt/y) of olefins and 2mt/y of derivatives, García said. Investment will eventually be US$3bn with the addition of a US$1bn aromatics plant.

Fénix is a ground-breaking concept for PPQ in that it is not a project with imposed designs or deadlines. Instead PPQ invited companies to propose conceptual designs and configuration, and will work with the companies whose suggestions it considers to be the most appropriate.

PPQ invited 20 companies to submit proposals and three Mexican companies and five foreign companies had come forward by the April 5 deadline. PPQ eventually plans to work with three or four of these in a joint venture in which PPQ would have up to 50% ownership.

Mexico's plastics industry has complained that delays to the Fénix project will restrict their supply of raw materials. García conceded that there have been delays, which he attributed to the conversations with the potential partners, and said that first phase operations are scheduled for 2009.

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