Sinopec signs $350 mln Kuwait drilling deal -report

BEIJING, April 3 Thu Apr 2, 2009 11:45pm EDT

BEIJING, April 3 (Reuters) - Sinopec signed a $350 million drilling deal with Kuwait this week, and vowed to work more with the country on new joint ventures and crude oil trading, the company's official publication said on Friday.

The five-year drilling contract was signed by Sinopec Group general manager Su Shulin during discussions with state-owned Kuwait Petroleum Corporation (KPC) on March 31-April 1, China Petrochemical News reported.

KPC aims to raise total crude exports to China to 500,000 barrels per day by 2015, but the economic downturn and collapse in oil prices has put many of its plans in peril.

Exports to China in February dwindled to just a third of the 190,000 barrel per day record set last August.

A keystone of KPC's plans in China, a $9 billion joint venture refining project with Sinopec (0386.HK)(600028.SS) in Guangdong province, has also been subject to several delays, putting its export targets in further doubt.

The construction of what would become the country's biggest refinery in the provincial capital of Guangzhou is still awaiting government approval amid environmental concerns in Guangdong and neighboring Hong Kong.