PTTGC puts off Ohio cracker call

PTTGC puts off Ohio cracker call

PTT Global Chemical (PTTGC), Thailand's largest petrochemical maker by capacity, has decided to further delay a final investment decision on its plan to develop an olefin cracker in the US state of Ohio as it needs more time to adjust its cost and form new business partnerships.

The company previously set a deadline for the middle of this year to decide whether to go forward with the investment after Daelim Industrial, a leading Korean construction and chemical company, withdrew from the joint venture.

The project was postponed because of the impact of the pandemic last year.

The planned investment is through its subsidiary, PTTGC America, to build the cracker facility in Belmont County's Mead Township, with ethylene production capacity of 1.5 million tonnes per year.

PTTGC chief executive Kongkrapan Intarajang said the latest delay will give the company more time to find ways to trim down the development cost as well as find a new business partner.

The investment budget was estimated at 150-200 billion baht.

With low interest rates projected to continue this year, PTTGC America will continue to look for the most suitable lender, he said.

"We will also have more time to search for a new strategic partner before making a final decision," said Mr Kongkrapan.

PTTGC has allocated capital spending worth US$642 million for investment projects in 2021-25.

The money will go to the development of a plastic recycling plant in Rayong, a plastic polymer engineering project and a second olefin cracker unit in the same province.

The company earlier spent 106 billion baht developing several polymer production plants during 2017-20. Many have begun commercial operations while some are undergoing test runs.

The investment involves propylene oxide, polyols, polyurethane, poly-ethylene terephthalate production capacity expansion and an olefins reconfiguration project.

Mr Kongkrapan said the company also plans to acquire new assets in the polymer production segment in a move to supply raw materials to auto parts, home appliance and electric vehicle industries.

Last year PTTGC's revenue dropped by 20% to 326 billion baht from 410 billion in 2019. Net profit dropped by almost 100% to 200 million baht from 11.68 billion baht due mainly to crude oil inventory losses.

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