By Malini Hariharan
After sorting out their merger, PTT Chem and PTT Aromatics and Refining (PTTAR) are looking at a major new investment to take care of their future.
In an interview with the blog's colleague Tahir Ikram, PTT Chem's president and CEO disclosed that the two companies are jointly studying a cracker project.
"We are exploring the possibility of a new cracker. Whether it is going to be gas or naphtha, or where it is going to be located, it is under study," said Veerasak Kositpaisal.
Details at this stage are sketchy.
It is not yet clear if the project would be at Map Ta Phut, Thailand, which has finally seen the end of a protracted legal battle between environmental activists and the government. The settlement has no doubt given companies the confidence to look at new projects.
But what about feedstock availability? In an interview to ICIS news last year, Kositpaisal had said that while Thailand has gas it was not clear if it would be enough to support a world-scale cracker.
So will the project be located elsewhere in Asia?
Well, China is on the ceo's mind. Kositapaisal said in the recent interview that the company is looking at investment opportunities in the country.
"China is a big market. We think China will continue to grow at least by 8% and with that kind of growth they need new capacity, big capacity," he said.
True, but what can PTT bring to the table to tempt the Chinese to give a share of their market?