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Thai Start-up Delays On Court Ruling: The Details

Aromatics, Business, Environment, Fibre Intermediates, Markets, Olefins, Polyolefins, Projects, Styrenics, Thailand, US
By John Richardson on 04-Dec-2009

The Thai Supreme Court’s decision to uphold a September injunction halting development of $12bn of petrochemical and power projects could affect the on-schedule start-up of capacities of a large amount of petrochemicals capacity.

Note the word could because, despite the court ruling supporting claims by environmentalists about the impact of pollution at the site, PTT claims that most of its 25 petrochemicals projects will be unaffected by the verdict. The reason it gives is that the projects were granted environmental clearance before 2007 – when constitutional changes altered health and environmental rules.

Further – media reports say that former prime minister Anand Panyarachun will review the court ruling and make recommendations in the first quarter of next year.

In all, according to the reports, only 11 out of 76 projects at the site have been given the go-ahead by The Supreme Court.

The petchem start-ups that might be affected are as follows:

*PTT Polyethylene’s 1m tonne/year ethane gas cracker, which was due onstream by the end of this year, according to a Thai industry contact who spoke to this blog. Downstream of the cracker will be 400,000 tonne/year of linear-low density polyethylene (LLDPE), 300,000 tonne/year of low-density polyethylene (LDPE) and 400,000 tonne/year of high-density polyethylene (HDPE), according to ICIS Plants & Projects

*The new Siam Cement/Dow Chemical complex centred on a cracker that will produce 900,000 tonne/year of ethylene and 450,000 tonne/year of propylene (the cracker will also produce 200,000 tonne/year of benzene). Also at the site will be a big new metathesis unit downstream of which will be a PP unit (currently checking the capacity). In addition, there will be a propylene oxide (PO) unit with a capacity of 390,000 tonne/year using Dow’s proprietary hydrogen peroxide route to PO. This will be the first plant of its kind in the world and will not produce any styrene co-product. Start-up of the cracker, metathesis and PP units is due in Q2 next year and the PO unit in 2011, says ICIS Plants & Projects

*The PTT and LyondellBassel joint venture, HMC Polymer, which comprises a 310,000 tonne/year propane dehydrogenation (PDH) unit and a 300,000 tonne/year polypropylene (PP) plant. This plant had been due to start-up by August this year, the blog was told.

*The PTT/Asahi Kasei Chemicals joint-venture 250,000 tonne/year acrylonitrile project, due on-stream in Q4 next year, according to ICIS Plants & Projects. This will involve Asahi Kasei’s propane route to PP. This would be the first commercial plant in the world to use propane rather than propylene as feedstock

News reports list chlor-alkali and vnyl chloride monomer (VCM) projects by Vinythai and a polyvinyl chloride (PVC) project by Thail Plastic & Chemicals as also being delayed. We are checking the details.  

According to The Nation newspaper, these are the 11 projects which were given permission to continue by the Supreme Court:

. Clean energy and product quality enhancement/Rayong Refinery

2. Gas recycling enhancement/HMC Polymers

3. Clean energy, oil vapour controlling unit installation/Star Petroleum Refining

4. Oil vapour controlling unit installation/PTT Aromatics and Refining

5. Air pollution improvement/Indorama Petroleum

6. Wastewater treatment improvement/PTT

7. Chlorine vaporiser and wet scrubber installation/Aditya Berla Chemicals (Thailand)

8. Tank relocation/Map t Tank Terminal

9. LPG/Brutene Depot-Wharf/PTT Chemical

10. Loading Arm Installation/Star Petroleum Refining

11. Petrochemical Depot-Wharf/Map Ta Phut Tank Terminal