* Spending plan for next 3 years is up 44% from past 3 years
* Aims to cut CO2 from refineries, boost CO2-free assets by 2040
* Pandemic won’t change trend toward low-carbon society-president (Adds detail, quotes)
TOKYO, May 20 (Reuters) - JXTG Holdings Inc, Japan’s biggest oil refiner, said on Wednesday it will spend 1.5 trillion yen ($14 billion) for the next three years to drive its transformation into a supplier of low-carbon energy and materials.
The planned spending, mapped out under a new medium-term business plan through end-March 2023, is a 44% jump from the 1.04 trillion yen spent in the past 3 years.
The fund will be used to strengthen its business in renewable energy, electronic materials and petrochemicals, JXTG Holdings President Tsutomu Sugimori said.
The new plan is based on an assumption that a decline in demand for petroleum products and others due to the pandemic will continue in the April-September half of the current financial year, he said.
“We don’t know how long an impact from the pandemic will continue, but we don’t think the current trend toward a low-carbon society will change,” Sugimori told a news conference.
“We will stick to our long-term vision,” he said.
Last year, the oil and metals group unveiled a long-term vision through 2040, reinforcing growth areas such as renewable energy, chemical products, power generation and electronic materials, based on an estimate that domestic oil demand will halve by 2040.
On Wednesday, the company added a new goal to become “carbon neutral” in 2040, by reducing emissions from refineries and boosting carbon-free assets such as renewable energy, hydrogen generation, and carbon capture and storage (CCS).
“The growing trend of boosting renewable energy won’t change despite a slump in oil prices,” Sugimori said.
The company also announced that Katsuyuki Ota, president of JXTG Nippon Oil & Energy, an energy unit of the group, will become JXTG Holdings’ president in June. Sugimori will become chairman.
$1 = 107.7900 yen Reporting by Yuka Obayashi; Editing by Tom Hogue and Louise Heavens
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