TOP allocates $5bn to invest in fast-growing businesses

TOP allocates $5bn to invest in fast-growing businesses

Thai Oil Plc (TOP), Thailand largest oil refinery by capacity, is planning to allocate US$5 billion in capital spending to support its long-term investments in new rapidly growing businesses.

The diversification into new businesses, including those using modern technology, follows TOP's plan to avoid dependence on its main source of revenue -- oil refineries.

Wirat Uanarumit, president and chief executive of TOP, said capital spending will start once the company completes its plans to expand production capacity as well as operate petrochemical businesses.

The company is increasing oil refinery capacity by more than 40% under the 150-billion-baht Clean Fuel Project in Chon Buri's Sri Racha district. The construction of the new facility is scheduled to be completed and operational in 2025.

The new facility can produce 400,000 barrels per day (bpd) of refined oil, up from 275,000 bpd.

Some output will be supplied to new olefins crackers in Indonesia, operated by PT Chandra Asri Petrochemical Tbk (CAP), Indonesia's largest petrochemical producer, said Mr Wirat.

TOP currently holds a 15% share in CAP.

CAP is waiting for a final investment decision on the development of second-phase olefins crackers, known as CAP 2, worth $5 billion.

CAP 2 will double the production capacity of olefins and polyolefins to 8 million tonnes per year, up from 4 million tonnes per year.

The development will start within the end of this year and commercial operation is scheduled for 2026.

The Indonesian project will support TOP's move to produce value-added products in the petrochemical industry.

Speaking during a farewell press conference, Mr Wirat, who will retire on Sept 30, stressed TOP will keep on investing in businesses which promise to generate new revenue for the firm.

TOP already raised funds for Chulalongkorn University's two spin-off tech startups.

One is Mineed, which specialises in detachable and dissolvable microneedle technology which can effectively deliver medicines into the skin in a painless way.

Mineed already started the first-stage of commercial production of microneedles and expects to scale up capacity soon.

The other startup is IncreBio Co, which develops technology using a special fermentation process that can reduce the amount of sugar in juice.

The technology is expected to benefit health-conscious consumers.

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