Thailand to invest in 33 petrochemical projects

Sep 17, 2004 02:00 AM

The Petroleum Institute of Thailand (PTIT) forecasts Thailand will spend an investment budget of about 400 bn baht on 33 petrochemical projects under Phase 3 of the National Petrochemical Master Plan during 2004 to 2018.
PTIT director Khunying Thongtip Ratanarat said Thailand needs a master plan for its petrochemical industry’s development to enhance competitiveness and to maximise the value of locally-produced natural gas.

According to the PTIT study, which is aimed at setting the direction for the development of Thailand’s petrochemical industry in the next 15 years and the preparation of the necessary infrastructure, 56 new plants need to be built to manufacture 33 petrochemical products to meet increasing demand in Thailand and the Asia Pacific region.
She also said PTIT’s study showed that aromatics products have a bright future and can compete in international markets. She added this is because the production costs of local aromatics products are relatively low while their selling prices are high on the back of strong demand in the world market.

Khunying Thongtip said Phase 3 of the National Petrochemical Project will help boost the value of natural gas locally produced in the future.
Energy Minister Prommin Lertsuridej said investors in the US, Germany and China have expressed their willingness to co-invest in Phase 3 of the National Petrochemical Project. He added that his ministry will put in all efforts to materialise the project as soon as possible with the aim of making Thailand a regional petroleum industrial hub in the foreseeable future.

Meanwhile, PTT, the country’s largest oil conglomerate, said that it is planning to build its sixth natural gas separation plant to serve the needs of Phase 3 of the National Petrochemical Project, which will start from this year to 2018.
PTT senior vice-president for Natural Gas Group Jitrapongse Kwangsukstith told that PTT is now studying a plan to construct the said plant, reputed to be the country’s largest natural gas separation plant. According to Jitrapongse, the plant will have a total capacity of 1 bn cfpd and will need a total investment capital of about 40 bn baht. He added that the plant’s construction is expected to be completed in 2009 or 2010.

He said the gas separation plant will be needed to supply the raw materials for the new petrochemical plants. After 2010, demand for gas-based petrochemical products will climb up, he added.
He also said that PTT’s 530-550 mm cfpd capacity fifth natural gas separation plant, which is now under construction, is scheduled to be completed in October this year. He added that the fifth plant is aim at serving the needs of Thai Olefins Corp.’s (TOC) ethylene production expansion project. He further said that the production capacity expansion project, which will be completed late this year, will help increase TOC’s ethylene production capacity of 300,000 tpy.

It was reported that the price of PTT’s shares rallied up to a six-month record high on the back of investors’ optimism that the oil firm will gain an advantage from the current return of foreign investors to the country’s capital market. A report saying that its subsidiary, Thai Oil, is going to list in the Stock Exchange of Thailand (SET) was another reason behind PTT’s surge.
PTT holds a stake of 49.99 % in Thai Oil, which plans to sell about 500-600 mm initial public offering shares this October to raise fresh capital for business expansion. Thai Oil shares are expected to be officially traded on the SET on October 26, 2004.

Source: Business Day
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