Thailand's Vinythai seeks long-term feedstock supply for ECH unit

15 March 2012 04:01  [Source: ICIS news]

By Lester Teo

ECH downstream is used in coatings for appliancesMAP TA PHUT (ICIS)--Thailand’s vinyl and chlor-alkli maker Vinythai is seeking long-term supply of feedstock refined glycerine for its 100,000 tonne/year epichlorohydrin (ECH) plant at Mat Ta Phut, a plant official said on Thursday.

“Vinythai is partnering with domestic and foreign suppliers of refined glycerine for long-term supply contracts, and spot purchases will be kept to a minimum, if not none,” the official from the subsidiary of Belgium’s Solvay told ICIS.

The ratio between domestic purchases and imports was not made known to ICIS as discussions are ongoing.

The bio-sourced ECH plant at Map Ta Phut uses Solvay’s Epicerol technology to transform glycerine – a by-product of biodiesel and oleochemicals production using palm oil and other vegetable oils – into ECH.

For 1 tonne of ECH produced using the Epicerol technology, 1.1 tonnes of refined glycerine is used as feedstock and added with hydrogen chloride.

ECH is used in the manufacture of epoxy resins, with growing application in the corrosion-protection coatings as well as electronics, appliances, automotive, aerospace and wind turbine industries.

“We have done extensive research and believe our demand for refined glycerine will not lead to tighter spot glycerine supply and higher spot refined glycerine prices,” the official said.

Domestic supply of glycerine is expected to be ramped up as Thailand’s biodiesel needs grow, the official said. Domestic sales of biodiesel are estimated at 50m litres/day.

“The availability of Thai domestic refined glycerine is expected to increase as part of the Thai government’s plan for bio-fuels and because biodiesel is now blended at 5%.

There is talk that the blending ratio may increase to 7%, which will contribute to the supply of glycerine as it is a by-product of biodiesel,” he said.

The 100,000 tonne/year ECH plant will require around 110,000 tonnes/year of refined glycerine, based on full operating rates. The company will need to import cargoes as Thailand’s installed capacity of refined glycerine is 70,000 tonnes/year.

“The ECH facility is now running normally and is expected to reach full capacity in a few months and there will be no immediate impact on spot prices in the short term,” the official said.

Vinythai is listed on the Stock Exchange of Thailand. Its major shareholders are the Solvay Group (58.77%), PTT Global Chemical (24.98%), with the rest of the shares owned by the public.

Read John Richardson and Malini Hariharan’s blog – Asian Chemical Connections

By: Lester Teo

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