Spanish energy company Cepsa has inaugurated a new chemical plant in China, making it the world's second largest producer of phenol and acetone.

The new facility has an annual production capacity of 250,000 tons of phenol, 150,000 tons of acetone and 360,000 tons of cumene, a derivative of benzene that is used to produce the other two chemicals. It will allow Cepsa to tap into the world's largest market for phenol in China, as well as open up new opportunities to expand across Asia, the company said on Tuesday.

Speaking at a launch event attended by Spanish and Chinese government officials, Cepsa chief executive Pedro Miru said: "Inaugurating this plant can serve as a bridge to other opportunities in China, where Cepsa would like to commit to implementing more projects and growing our business. Cepsa sees Asia, and China in particular, as a key region in which we would like to grow our operations."

The facility was built at a cost of EUR300 million ($330 million) and is located on Shanghai Chemical Industry Park, an industrial zone that is home to several other petrochemical and fine chemistry businesses.

According to a report by Spanish news agency EFE, the park's own petrochemical pipelines will allow Cepsa to distribute phenol and acetone from the plant without the need for trans-shipment. As much as three-quarters of the plant's production is expected to cater to demand from within the park itself, with the remainder sold via Sumitomo Corporation, Cepsa's local partner in China.