SINGAPORE (ICIS)--Thailand's oleochemicals producer Global Green Chemicals (GGC) started commercial operations at its new 20,000 tonne/year refined glycerine unit on 1 December.
The plant is located at the Thai Eastern Industrial Land, Amphoe Nong Yai in Chonburi, Thailand.
Investment details were not disclosed.
GGC's first refined glycerine plant in Thailand has a 31,000 tonne/year capacity.
The company, which is a subsidiary of Thai petrochemical major PTT Global Chemical, also operates a 300,000 tonne/year glycol ether plant; a 100,000 tonne/year fatty alcohols unit and a 124,000 tonne/year fatty alcohols ethoxylate facility, according to its website.
Spot glycerine prices in Asia have found support in recent months from supply concerns and strong buying from downstream epichlorohydrin (ECH) sector in China.
Supply has tightened following reduced plant utilization rates in both the oleochemicals and biodiesel sector.
As the pandemic situation worsens once more, movement restriction measures were imposed in Indonesia, Malaysia and Europe, resulting in lower biodiesel consumption.
Some fatty acids complexes have also reduced their operating rates due to volatility in feedstock palm oil prices and slow demand for the main fatty acids products.
In addition, rising vegetable oil prices also placed a strain on local biodiesel mandates and there were questions on whether Indonesia and Malaysia would be able to maintain their respective biodiesel blending ratio due to the high spread between gas oil and palm oil prices.
Recently, Brazil lowered its blending ratio from B12 to B10 due to a shortage of local soy oil availability.
Supply is expected to stay tight, but may gradually improve as biodiesel production recovers.
Glycerine is a byproduct of oleochemicals and biodiesel, with the latter contributing over 60% of the global supply.
China is the biggest consumer of glycerine, accounting for more than 30% of the demand worldwide.
Additional reporting by Jackie Wong
Photo: Glycerine is used in mouthwash (By Newscast/Shutterstock)