PTTGC plans ethane cracker plant in US

PTTGC plans ethane cracker plant in US

PTT Global Chemical Plc (PTTGC) is expected to finalise plans to develop a petrochemical complex in the US by next year after a delay caused by falling global oil prices.

The ethane cracker plant based on shale gas in Belmont County, Ohio is to be finalised in terms of partnership, finance and design in early 2017, said chairman Prasert Bunsumpun.

He said completion of the petrochemical complex would take two years, by which time low oil prices should help reduce energy, feedstock and development costs.

The plant costing US$5.7 billion will have an annual capacity to produce 1 million tonnes of ethylene cracker, 700,000 tonnes of high-density polyethylene, 500,000 tonnes of monoethylene glycol and 100,000 tonnes of ethylene oxide.

"The new complex will use shale gas from the Marcellus formation, and the project will be located near off-taker facilities to boost the project's logistical efficiency," Mr Prasert said.

Ethylene and downstream polymers produced at the complex will help replace US imports of such commodities.

Last year, PTTGC teamed up with Japanese trading firm Marubeni to revive the project.

Another long-delayed project to develop a biochemical complex in the Central region of Thailand is still undergoing a feasibility study, expected to be finalised by year-end.

The first phase would comprise facilities to produce ethanol and lactic acid.

Potential shareholders in the project may be Mitr Phol Co, Asia's largest sugar producer. It is due to start by 2019.

PTTGC was chosen by the government to be Thailand's spearhead of the bio-economy and green industry.

PTTGC yesterday contributed 200 water tanks with a capacity of 1,500 litres each to the Energy Ministry to help reduce the effect of the severe drought.

Meanwhile, the Energy Business Department reported that demand for liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) in March dropped by 10% year-on-year to 482,000 tonnes.

The number of vehicles modified to be compatible with LPG has fallen sharply over the past two years because of cheaper petrol prices. Consumption of LPG in the household sector also dropped 1.2% year-on-year in March.

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