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China’s Sinopec to Expand into the 3D-Printing Materials Market

In what seems a reaction to the drastic fall in global oil prices, China Petroleum & Chemical Corporation (commonly known as Sinopec) is looking to tap into areas of technological innovation. In particular, 3D-printing materials.

The aim is to increasingly diversify their interests beyond oil production and become known as a technological innovator in the near future. This would involve, among other things, generating funding for research facilities and related projects, with the intent of gaining some sort of edge on making technological breakthroughs.

sinopec

Sinopec Chairman, Fu Chengyu, stated that speculation on lower oil prices for 2015, along with the desire to become a “science-based petrochemical company” were motivators for this shift in focus. Chengyu added, “Research (is being) conducted to explore 3D-printing businesses, and to create conditions for the development of 3D-printing materials.”

No further details regarding these plans were provided.

Shi Yan, an analyst at UOB-Kay Hian Holdings Limited, commented to Bloomberg, “It’s smart to explore opportunities in high-margin products in new materials and services businesses, as lower crude prices have choked almost every oil explorer in the world.” Yan added, “Ideally, Sinopec wants to turn itself into China’s DuPont.”

Sinopec is currently the largest single refiner of oil and gas in Asia, and the largest company in the world by revenue. In addition to development and expansion into tech-based markets, the company seeks to expand into alternative energy and environmental protection industries.

While it sounds good, that actually might be a bit of a stretch. Sinopec is one of China’s top corporate polluters, and from August 2013 to April 2014 the company was actually banned from constructing new facilities by China’s Ministry of Environmental Protection (MEP) after failing to meet 2012 pollution targets.

H/T: 3DPrint