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PTTGC, Sinochem in investment pact

Date:2013-07-30 Source:The Nation

MOU signed; firm acted quickly to contain weekend oil spill, SET told

PTT Global Chemical (PTTGC) yesterday signed a memorandum of understanding with Sinochem Group, one of China's four national oil firms, to create a partnership to explore investment opportunities in the petrochemical business in China and in the region.

This also covers the chance to explore investment in other energy sources like shale gas.

PTTGC chief executive officer Anon Sirisaengtaksin said the MoU was in line with his company's strategy of exploring new markets after relying mainly on the domestic market. China is a high-potential market with growing demand for petrochemical products.

He added that Sinochem was strong in terms of marketing capacity and logistics, while PTTGC had strong production technology, and the two strengths could complement each other.

The two companies will soon start studying the feasibility of joint investment, and the first project will be petrochemical products for the automotive and construction industries. The study is expected to be concluded early next year and investment will begin at the same time, given that Sinochem wants to start the project as soon as possible to cash in on rising demand, Anon said.

China produces 20 million vehicles per year.

Sinochem has also paved the way for PTTGC to invest in its multibillion-US-dollar petrochemical complex. This comprises many projects, including a refinery with production capacity of 200,000 barrels per day, the production of olefins with capacity of 800,000 tonnes per year, and a cracker plant with capacity of 1 million tonnes per year.

Cracker plants

The cracker plant is expected to be completely built by 2017, while the refinery's construction is close to completion.

PTTGC will have to study details of these projects first, and the conclusion is expected to be made early next year, Anon said.

As for a recent oil leak and PTTGC's temporary shutdown of its low-density polyethylene plant to repair a cylinder of the booster/primary compressor, he said the company was solving these problems to restore client confidence. He said they would have only a slight impact on the company's operations and it would stick to its investment plan.

PTTGC advised the Stock Exchange of Thailand yesterday that on Saturday at 6.50am, leakage in a 16-inch (41-centimetre) flexible hose was found at a single-point mooring while discharging crude oil from a vessel to the refinery, 20 kilometres southeast of Map Ta Phut seaport. The leakage resulted in a spill of about 50,000 litres of oil, equivalent to 316 barrels.

PTTGC said it mitigated the impact of the oil spill by immediately shutting the pipeline valve to prevent further leakage, followed by cleanup of the spill by collecting oil from the sea's surface and spraying oil-spill dispersants both by ships and by planes. As for the refinery, it can be operated as usual, it said.

PTTGC has insurance coverage for property damage and business interruption, marine cargo, and third-party liability.

By Warin Trino