PTTGC to turn Thailand into petrochemicals hub
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PTTGC to turn Thailand into petrochemicals hub

PTT Global Chemical (PTTGC), the largest petrochemical producer in Thailand by capacity, aims to jump-start a downbeat industry by transforming the country into a high-value speciality petrochemical production hub in Southeast Asia.

The slowdown in the global petrochemical market has resulted from higher supply from new production facilities in East Asia and the Middle East, as well as the impact from the US-China trade war, causing Beijing to reduce petrochemical exports to the US and focus on sales in Asia.

To develop as a regional speciality petrochemical hub, PTTGC will produce more high-value products from a manufacturing process with low carbon dioxide emissions, said Narongsak Jivakanun, the company's new chief executive.

PTTGC wants to sell its products domestically and internationally.

The strategy involves two firms under its wing: Frankfurt-based Allnex Holding GmbH and NatureWorks LLC.

PTTGC acquired Allnex, a prominent maker of industrial coatings, in a buyout worth US$4.75 billion in 2021 and teamed up with US-based Cargill, which specialises in biopolymer manufacturing, to jointly establish Natureworks in the same year to build a polylactic acid (PLA) factory in Nakhon Sawan.

PLA is a compostable biopolymer which can be used in a variety of applications ranging from coffee capsules and food packaging to 3D printing filaments, hygienic masks and home appliances.

Located in the Nakhon Sawan Biocomplex, the factory is Cargill's second biopolymer production facility, following an initial plant in Blair, Nebraska.

Annual biopolymer production capacity at the new factory is 75,000 tonnes a year.

Allnex and Natureworks will help PTTGC develop high-value petrochemical products in the industrial coating and PLA categories, said Mr Narongsak.

He said Allnex will also be a crucial part of PTTGC's plan to develop innovative products and expand its markets internationally.

Allnex currently runs 34 coating resin manufacturing plants worldwide.

Coating resins are primary ingredients in the formulation of paints, coatings and finishes.

PTTGC plans to use Allnex's technical know-how to develop its petrochemical factory in the Map Ta Phut area.

Plants in Map Ta Phut and Nakhon Sawan will play a key role in helping Thailand become a speciality petrochemical production hub.

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