Laopec: The first modern petroleum refinery in Laos

Lao Petroleum and Chemical Co Ltd (Laopec), located in the Saysettha Development Zone in Lao capital Vientiane, has invested more than $200 million in a petroleum refinery.

Laopec launched the first phase of production of its three million tonnes a year refinery in December 2020, which has created job opportunities for local people and generated income for the government, Laopec deputy general manager Wang Deng Tao told Vientiane Times reporters who visited the site recently.

The refinery currently employs almost 300 people, of whom 160 are Lao and account for about 55 per cent of the workforce, he said.

The company has paid 66 billion kip ($5.76 million) in taxes to the government, Wang added.

Last year, despite the challenges posed by Covid-19, the refining of petroleum continued in strict compliance with the measures laid down by the National Taskforce for Covid-19 Prevention and Control and the plant was able to guarantee the quality of petrol produced at an acceptable level, he said.

Due to the problems encountered, the plant was able to reach only 10 per cent of total refining capacity.

“This year we expect to increase the capacity of refining and to supply high quality petroleum to the domestic market now that the spread of Covid-19 has reduced,” Wang said.

The company plans to invest a total of $2 billion in three phases to build a modern petroleum refinery plant, mainly engaged in petroleum refining, fine chemicals, clean energy and the production, storage, sales, and logistics of other chemical products and related businesses.

The full capacity of each phase will enable refinery of one million tonnes of petroleum each year and the company will try to further invest in the second and third phases to complete the project as planned.

The plant will help to provide Laos with a safe and stable supply of refined oil, and thus play an important part in the development of Laos’ industry and help reduce fuel imports and cut oil prices on the domestic market.

The company expects to provide a strong guarantee for Laos’ energy security and economic growth and to become an important demonstration project for the China-Laos community “with a shared future”.

However, the company needs the government to provide more support, especially with regard to issuing regulations perfectly and clearly, to enable entrepreneurs in Laos to carry out their business operations more easily.

Laopec is a joint venture between the Yunnan Construction and Investment Holding Group and Lao State Fuel Co set up in response to China’s Belt and Road Initiative and Lao enterprises, to enrich domestic energy cooperation and enhance economic and trade exchanges between the two countries.

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