PTTGC to boost olefin cracker production

PTTGC to boost olefin cracker production

SET-listed PTT Global Chemical Plc (PTTGC), Thailand's biggest petrochemical maker, is looking to invest further in olefin cracker production under the company's US$4.5 billion (155 billion baht) retrofit project.

President and chief executive Supattanapong Punmeechaow said the cracker would be able to produce 500,000 tonnes of ethylene a year and 261,000 tonnes of propylene after the retrofit.

The capital expenditure is expected to be approved by PTTGC's board of directors by May, while the project is due to start commercial operations by 2020.

Mr Supattanapong said the project is aimed at turning a byproduct, naphtha, which the company normally sells to other downstream petrochemical makers, into feedstock for olefins, which are new downstream products with higher margins.

The new naphtha cracker is seen as creating new product opportunities along the company's value chain.

The cracker will also help support a new 300,000-tonne-a-year metallocene linear low density polyethylene plant in Map Ta Phut, which is expected to come online in the first quarter of 2018, he said.

Meanwhile, the company is planning to make a final investment decision on a propylene oxide and polyols project in the fourth quarter of this year, according to the company's spokesperson.

The project is expected to come on stream in the second quarter of 2019.

PTTGC could potentially establish new plants for acrylic acid, polypropylene, superabsorbent polymers, styrene monomer, polystyrene compounds and acrylonitrile butadiene styrene with the additional output from the cracker, the company said in a release.

Mr Supattanapong said PTTGC and its parent company, PTT Plc, the national oil and gas conglomerate, are also interested in investing in the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC).

But the group needs to study more information about the location, policy and infrastructure-related issues to see whether they are ready for new investment.

PTT Plc has started its initial investment plan in the EEC despite the project not being fully developed, as the company believes the area, heavily backed by the government, will be a key engine driving Thailand's economy.

PTTGC shares closed yesterday on the Stock Exchange of Thailand at 73.25 baht, up 1.25 baht, in trade worth 625 million baht.

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