GUANGZHOU, April 22 (Xinhua) -- Multinational oil and gas corporation ExxonMobil Wednesday broke ground on its solely-funded chemical complex in Huizhou, southern China's Guangdong Province.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, a special "cloud ceremony" was held online with video connections linking the Huizhou Dayawan Petrochemical Industrial Park, and places in Beijing and Dallas.
The complex, with a total investment of about 10 billion U.S. dollars, will be built in two phases. The first phase with a 1.6 million tonne-per-year ethylene cracker and down-stream production equipment is scheduled to be completed by 2023 when construction on the second phase will begin.
An annual operating income of 39 billion yuan (5.5 billion U.S. dollars) is expected when the first phase reaches designed capacity.
ExxonMobil Chairman and CEO Darren Woods in Dallas said via video link that the project reflects China's growing commitment to foreign direct investment and fostering innovation.
Infrastructure and public facilities built at the national, regional and local levels provide critical support while the new laws and regulations further improve China's economic competitiveness, he added.
"All of this creates an environment that enables ExxonMobil to continue our strategic long-term investments," the chairman said.
China is a long-term strategic development platform of ExxonMobil, and the groundbreaking is a milestone in the implementation of the megaproject, said Fernando Vallina, chairman of ExxonMobil (China) Investment Co., Ltd.
Ma Xingrui, governor of Guangdong, said local governments have effectively overcome difficulties brought by the epidemic to complete preparatory works including project approval and sea reclamation.
It took only about 18 months for such a mammoth project to kick off, which demonstrated high efficiency on the part of China, Ma said at the ceremony.
The provincial government said it will do whatever it can to make sure the chemical complex goes into operation by 2023.