Thai court upholds suspension of 65 Rayong projects, exempts 11

03 December 2009 07:10  [Source: ICIS news]

By Pearl Bantillo

SINGAPORE (ICIS news)--The Supreme Administrative Court of Thailand upheld a ruling suspending the bulk of chemical projects in Rayong province due to environmental concerns, while exempting 11 of them, which provides little relief to oil and gas giant PTT and conglomerate Siam Cement (SCC).

PTT, in a disclosure to The Stock Exchange of Thailand on Thursday, stated that five industrial and two transportation projects of the company and its subsidiaries were among the exemptions.

These are the gas separation plant No 6 of PTT, the butane-1 tank & jetty project of PTT Chemical and the monomers recovery unit project of HMC Polymers.

Two projects of its subsidiary, PTT Aromatics, were also taken off the list, namely its clean fuel and upgrading projects and its vapour recovery unit and biodiesel project, based on documents released to the stock exchange.

Its other subsidiary, Star Petroleum, had also been allowed to proceed with its clean fuel and vapour recovery unit, biodiesel tank project and Jet A1Loading arm project.

However, major projects of PTT Chemical, which were due to start up in the first quarter of next year, were still suspended.

Among PTT Chemical’s projects still under suspension are the expansion of two high density polyethylene (HDPE) units, which would have a combined capacity of 300,000 tonnes/year; a low density polyethylene (LDPE) plant; and a linear low density polyethyelene (LLDPE) plant, with combined capacity of 700,000 tonnes/year.

In late September, Thailand’s Central Administrative Court ordered a halt to all 76 projects in Rayong province – where the country’s petrochemical hub of Mab Ta Phut is located – following protests from residents who claimed the projects were environmentally harmful.

The initial list of projects ordered to stop construction totalled about 25 to be carried out by PTT, raising concerns that its earnings would be significantly dented next year.

In a separate disclosure on Thursday, Siam Cement revealed that two of its projects were released from court injunction but 18 other projects worth about baht (Bht) 57.5bn ($1.73bn) remained affected.

“These 18 projects…are new projects, capacity expansion projects and enhancement modification projects,” SCC said in a statement, citing that some of these were ready to start operations from the first quarter of 2010.

“SCC expects that such projects may be delayed due to the court order,” it said.

The company said it would continue to look for “viable solutions” to the deadlock on the projects, while trying to minimise any effect the possible delays would have on SCG Chemicals’ investment projects.

($1 = Bht33.15)

Read John Richardson and Malini Hariharan’s Asian Chemical Connections blog
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By: Pearl Bantillo
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