Thailand’s PTT Chem to invest in new bioplastics unit in Asia

25 January 2011 08:25  [Source: ICIS news]

SINGAPORE (ICIS)--Thailand’s PTT Chemical (PTTCH) is looking to invest in a new bioplastics facility within Asia as part of its recent tie-up with US-based biotechnology firm Myriant Technologies, a company source said on Tuesday.

“We are planning to establish a bioplastics plant using the joint venture (JV) agreement with Myriant, but any decision on it is expected only within the next five years,” the source said.

The number of Myriant shares PTTCH acquired was not immediately available.

PTTCH is a subsidiary of Thailand’s state-run oil and gas major PTT Group.

The two sides on 24 January signed a JV agreement, which included PTTCH’s involvement in a new 14,000 tonne/year succinic acid plant currently being built in the US state of Louisiana, the source said.

Commercial production at the plant was expected to begin in 2012, the source added.

“PTT Chemical invested $60m (€43.8m) in Myriant and will further collaborate with them in the research and development for green chemicals,” Prajya Phinyawat, chief operating officer of PTT’s downstream petroleum business group, said in a statement.

Myriant was earlier awarded $60m in funding from the US Department of Energy and the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development for the construction of the world's largest bio-based succinic acid plant at Lake Providence in the state of Louisiana, according to the statement.

PTTCH’s foray into green chemicals was also in response to the Thai government’s policy to encourage the private sector to set up a bioplastic plant in Thailand, the statement said.

The JV agreement would further drive technology for the manufacturing of green chemicals, using the abundant bio-based feedstock available in Thailand and the rest of the region, it added.

Succinic acid is a biochemical that can be produced from renewable feedstock to replace a wide range of petroleum-based chemicals, according to the statement.

The biochemical is used in manufacturing a variety of pigments, polymers, solvents and pharmaceuticals for applications such as paints, latex and polyurethane.

($1 = €0.73)

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By: Nurluqman Suratman

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