Thailand's IRPC plans ethylene plant revamp - brokerage

24 August 2017 06:32 Source:ICIS News

SINGAPORE (ICIS)--Thailand’s IRPC is studying a revamp of its 350,000 tonnes/year cracker in Rayong, to increase its olefins capacity by 250,000-330,000 tonnes/year, a local brokerage said on Thursday.

The company is also planning to build a world-scale paraxylene (PX) plant with 1.2m-1.4m tonnes/year of capacity, Krungsri Securities said in a note.

Krungrsi hosted a non-deal roadshow in Japan for IRPC early this week.

The two major projects are expected to cost around $1.3bn-1.6bn and will be submitted for board approval in the fourth quarter, the firm said.

However, IRPC may exclude the ethylene revamp project if it costs as high as $300-400m, Krungsri noted.

“IRPC may accelerate to complete the PX project in three years instead of the normal five years if deemed appropriate. It has ample headroom to fund this investment,” said Naphat Chantaraserekul, an analyst at Krungsri.

“If IRPC decides to go ahead with PX project, this will allow IRPC to expand its downstream ABS [acrylonitrile butadiene styrene] capacity (current 180,000 tonnes/year) as it will have more benzene feedstock. IRPC will consider to double ABS capacity in the next step,” he said.

IRPC’s earnings in 2018-2019 will likely be driven by the ramp-up of specialty grade polypropylene (PP) compound production, better PP margins and a “catalyst cooler” project. The project will provide IRPC the flexibility to use heavier crude intake and optimise its refinery operations, Chantaraserekul said.

By Nurluqman Suratman