PTT to start 6th gas separation unit by early Dec - analysts

21 September 2010 10:51  [Source: ICIS news]

(Recasts second paragraph for clarity)

SINGAPORE (ICIS)--Thailand’s PTT is expected to start commercial production at its 6th gas separation plant (GSP) in Mab Ta Phut by early December, with affiliate PTT Chemical’s downstream units to follow suit soon after, analysts said on Tuesday.

Oil and gas major PTT’s 6th GSP unit, which would provide gas feedstock to the cracker, has been waiting for an operating permit from the country’s Industry Ministry in order to begin operations, they said.

“PTT is expected to be given the operating licence for the GSP by end October and should be able to start running test runs by early November,” said Naphat Chantaraserekul, an analyst at DBS Vickers Securities in Bangkok.

The projects were released from suspension by the Thai Central Administrative Court earlier this month, nearly a year after it ordered an injunction on them based on environmental grounds.

PTT Chemicals’ 300,000 tonnes/year high density polyethylene expansion project and its new 50,000 tonne/year ethanlolamine unit were part of the list of projects freed from suspension but its 95,000 tonne/year MEG expansion project, however, failed to secure the court’s approval.

The Industry Ministry has so far allowed 61 projects out of 76 freed from suspension to proceed but 18 of these have not yet received operating permits, according to analysts.

Projects that have already been given operating permits would take a month or two before commercial production takes place as they would be doing trial runs, said Sutthichai Kumworachai, an analyst at brokerage KGI Securities in Thailand.

PTT’s 6th GSP would likely start up in late November or early December, he said, adding that downstream units belonging to PTT Chemical would soon begin full production soon after the GSP unit provides them sufficient gas feedstock to run at full capacity.

PTT officials could not be immediately reached for comment.

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By: Nurluqman Suratman

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