Thailand’s Vinythai on track to complete China ECH plant in H2 '14

31 January 2013 09:58  [Source: ICIS news]

KUALA LUMPUR (ICIS)--Thailand-based vinyl and chlor-alkali producer Vinythai is on track to complete its 100,000 tonne/year glycerine-based epichlorohydrin (ECH) plant in Taixing, China, in the second half of 2014, a company official said on Thursday.

The plant, which will double the company’s existing ECH capacity in Asia, is aimed at tapping the key China market, said Vinythai senior department manager Boonchana Mangkonkarn at the ICIS Asian Oleochemicals conference in Kuala Lumpur.

For the oleochemicals industry in Asia, the new facility can potentially generate additional demand for up to 110,000 tonnes/year of refined glycerine. The estimate is based on a conversion ratio of 1.1 tonnes of refined glycerine to 1 tonne of ECH, said Mangkonkarn.

Vinythai started up its first Asian glycerine-based ECH facility in Thailand in 2012. The plant has a nameplate capacity of 100,000 tonnes/year.

Speaking at the conference, Mangkonkarn said the growing refined glycerine demand from the ECH sector is unlikely to change the demand-supply balance of the refined glycerine market because of growing capacities in the oleochemicals and biodiesel sectors in Asia and South America.

Glycerine is a byproduct of fatty acids, fatty alcohols and biodiesel production.

In addition, no new competitive glycerine applications will likely come on stream between 2012 and 2015, he said.

He expects Vinythai to have a competitive position in the ECH market in China despite the growing domestic capacity.

“We have no integrated epoxy resins operations. We do not compete with our customers," he said.

Epoxy resins account for more than 90% of the total Asian ECH demand.

China, he noted, remains a net importer as the operating rates at the Chinese facilities are low. He estimated that the average utilisation rates in China were below 50% in 2012.

Chinese producers will also face increasing pressure on waste treatment issues amid rising environmental concerns in China, he said.

Vinythai’s major shareholders are Belgium’s Solvay and Thailand’s PTT Global Chemical.

By: Yeow Pei Lin

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