Map Ta Phut pressure mounts

By Malini Hariharan

PTT Chem is likely to miss its revenue growth target of 20% this year because of the Map Ta Phut crisis.

The company had set a 2010 revenue target of about Baht100bn (US$3bn), up from Baht80bn in 2009, reports the Bangkok Post.

As reported by this blog last month, suspension of parent company PTT’s sixth gas separation plant would result in lower operating rates at PTT Chemical’s new 1m tonnes/year cracker.

The company’s president and ceo Veerasak Kositpaisal has said the cracker would run at 60-70% initially.

He also said that the cracker would supply 400,000 tonnes to a new lldPE plant, and 300,000 tons would be supplied to ldPE plant. Commerical operations at these two plants have been scheduled in the second quarter.

The rest of the ethylene from the new cracker would be supplied to a new hdPE plant which is on the list of suspended projects, said Kositpaisal.

ICIS news had reported last week that PTT may delay the startup of the new ldPE plant from end-February/early March because of a shortage of ethylene. The extent of delay was not specified.

The shortage has probably been aggravated by an unexpected shutdown of two older crackers last week because of a power outage in Map Ta Phut. The I-4 No 1 and I-4 No 2 crackers, which have nameplate ethylene capacities of 515,000 tonnes/year and 400,000 tonnes/year, are due to restart this week.

Meanwhile, the Office of the Attorney General has petitioned the Thai Administrative Court to allow 12 projects at Map Ta Phut to resume construction. The operators of these projects would carry out health and environmental impact assessment studies through the construction period. The argument being put forward is that there would be no pollution during the construction phase.

Most of the projects are linked to the Siam Cement Group and include Thai Polyethylene, Thai MMA and BST Elastomers.

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