Build-up of petchem industry in Asia continues

Apr 21, 1998 02:00 AM

Rayong Olefins Co. (ROC), a Thai petrochemical maker, together with Siam Cement Co., will complete the construction of a 600,000-tpy ethylene plant by the beginning of October in Map Ta Phut, Thailand. The aim still is for operation start-up early next year, despite the economic turmoil in the country. This will be the fourth Thai ethylene plant, following those by NPC, TOC and TPI.
TPI and NPC have already decided to freeze their 2nd-phase ethylene projects in view of the financial crisis. TPI built last year a 300,000-tpy ethylene plant in Rayong.
The industrial attention is thus focused on ROC's 2nd-phase ethylene plan and the aromatic projects being planned by Western chemical giants. Aromatic production is lagging behind olefin in Thailand.

Apiporn Pasawat, vice-president of Siam Cement Petrochemical Group petrochemical division, told that ROC would proceed in building plants already under construction as planned. So the company will continue construction work for a 300,000-tpy PE plant by joint investment with Dow Chemical, he added.
For aromatics, a Mitsubishi Oil-Thai Oil consortium is already undertaking a project, and Exxon Chemical and Chevron Chemical are planning aromatics production in Thailand.

Exxon Chemical also is going to construct an 800,000- tpy ethylene plant in Singapore with completion set for 2000 as scheduled. An Exxon official told in Singapore that about 150 engineers have gathered and are arranging the engineering work, while about 50 experts are carrying out such work in the West. The company has also begun employing plant operators there, the number of which is planned to finally increase to about 900, chiefly for the ethylene plant, he added.
The Singapore project is intended to consolidate Exxon's integrated operations for oil refining and petrochemicals in Asia.

After Exxon decided to tackle the Singapore project, the depression hit Asia, triggered by the currency crisis in Thailand. The official said that Exxon, however, had nofinancing problem and could proceed with construction projects as scheduled.
Exxon has also decided to construct a 450,000-tpy polyethylene unit using the metallocene process as a downstream line. Negotiations are under way as well with Japan's Mitsubishi Chemical Corp. and other chemical makers on a styrene monomer (SM) process for its new SM plant.

Source: not available
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