Friday, October 21, 2005

Refinery bid by Abu Dhabi :: Taiwan News Online

The investment would be Abu Dhabi's first in Asia's sixth- largest economy and help Taiwan secure additional crude oil supplies. The island's oil imports climbed 13 percent last year to 369 million barrels, 3.8 percent of that from the U.A.E. The bid is a test of Taiwan's determination to privatize Chinese Petroleum, whose union argues that selling a stake to the emirate would be illegal.

The Taiwan government, which owns 100 percent of Chinese Petroleum, plans to reduce its stake to less than 50 percent by auctioning shares, according to the Council for Economic Planning and Development, Taiwan's top economic planner. There's no timetable for the sales, according to the council. Taiwan law on privatizations states the government "should" invite public bids from potential investors.

The refiner's union opposes the government plan on the grounds the island needs a state-run oil company to stabilize fuel prices and guard energy supply, and because of concern over employees' job security, said Chuang Chueh-an, chairman of the Taiwan Petroleum Workers' Union. "From a legal perspective, it's impossible" to sell a stake to Abu Dhabi without holding an auction, Chuang, said in a telephone interview yesterday.


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