08 December 1997 00:00 [Source: ACN]
THE Petroleum Authority of Thailand (PTT) may consider delaying its southern seaboard petrochemical complex if there is surplus capacity after Sukhothai Petroleum and Siam Cement have started up their new complexes, a PTT official said.
However, the startup of Siam Cement's No2 cracker, tipped to have a capacity of 800 000 tonne/year, has not been finalised.
The Sukhothai integrated complex poses little threat to the PTT project as it is expected to start up earlier, in 2001, compared with PTT's scheduled startup in 2003-05. In addition, Sukhothai is to export 80% of its refining output, targeted to be at least 125 000 bbl/day, while PTT plans to sell domestically.
However, PTT is bullish about the southern seaboard project. One reason is that Thailand views it as an infrastructural project, a driving force of the economy. 'The feasibility study shows that the project is viable, although this will also depend on product and crude prices,' the official said.
PTT does not think the crisis will affect whether or not the project goes ahead. It is confident the Thai economy will recover by the time the project starts up. The initial investment only involves land and preparation costs.
The feasibility study is to be completed before the end of December, after which PTT will seek internal approval.
The Thai government has already given in-principle approval for the two ports at Nakhon Si Thammarat and Phang-nga, the PTT official said. The complex is likely to be sited in Sichon, which is 10 km south of Khanom.
He said there are various options for the complex, depending on the market situation: it could be a standalone refinery or standalone olefins complex, an integrated complex, or just downstream operations.
But based on the analysis of the domestic market, PTT thinks it is likely to be an integrated complex. Cracker capacity should be about 600 000 tonne/year, and refining capacity 150-300 000 bbl/day, he said.
Japanese companies which are co-studying the feasibility have yet to commit themselves. They are Itochu Corp, Mitsui & Co, and JGC Corp. But talks, which cover downstream interests, are ongoing, the official said.
LG Group and Samsung Corp have also remained quiet. 'They expressed interest just because the Japanese came over for the study. They are also keen on engineering and construction,' he said. Talks with Aramco have not progressed.
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