Ethoxylate project in the pipeline

PTT Chemical aims to be fully integrated

PTT Chemical Plc, the petrochemical flagship of PTT Plc, has introduced a new ethoxylate project as it pursues its goal of creating a fully integrated petrochemical complex.

The project was expected to generate two billion baht in sales next year, according to Manope Kerdlappo, acting managing director of Thai Ethoxylate Co, the project operator.

The new company is a 50:50 joint venture between PTT Chemical and Cognis Thailand, a local unit of the multinational Cognis Group, which is a leading specialty chemical supplier.

The 800-million-baht plant, which started operations last month, can produce up to 50,000 tonnes of fatty alcohol ethoxylate per year. It was now operating at 80% of total capacity and would reach 100% by the end of this year, noted Mr Manope.

Based on the current price of about US$1,300 per tonne, he said, the company estimated the facility would generate two billion baht in revenue next year.

''The forecast figure definitely depends on product prices that are likely to stay at a high level throughout next year, due to tight supply,'' he said.

Fatty alcohol ethoxylate is used as a key ingredient in personal and home-care products such as shampoos, detergents and washing liquid.

The project fulfils PTT Chemical's integration plan following its upstream investments in a naphtha cracker and plants that produce ethylene oxide (EO) and fatty alcohol. These are the major raw materials of fatty alcohol ethoxylate.

Under the joint venture, Cognis will provide technological expertise and purchase the fatty alcohol ethoxylate to manufacture personal-care and home-care products in Thailand and neighbouring countries.

''Because there are less EO producers in the market, related product supplies, including fatty alcohol ethoxylate, fall short,'' Mr Manope said.

Levent Yuksel, group vice-president of Cognis's care-surfactants business unit, said demand for the products in Asia was growing strong in line with rising consumption.

''With the strong marketing channel of Cognis, the Thailand facility has very strong potential,'' he said.

Even though domestic demand is forecast to grow by 7% to 8% annually from 40,000 tonnes this year, Thai Ethoxylate Co plans to ship 50% of its total output overseas next year.

Thai Ethoxylate is the second joint venture between PTT Chemical and Cognis. The other is a 900-million-baht fatty alcohol plant, operated by Thai Fatty Alcohol Co, that boasts an annual capacity of 100,000 tonnes. The project is scheduled to be commercially operational next year.

Aditheb Bisalbutr, PTT Chemical's president, said the company would realise one billion baht next year from the investment in Thai Ethoxylate.

PTT Chemical plans to spend 100 billion baht for investments over the next four years. Thirty billion baht of the total will go into new projects mostly related to ethylene cracking.
PTT Chemical shares (PTTCH) closed yesterday on the Stock Exchange of Thailand at 77 baht, unchanged, in trade worth 28 million baht.
source: Bangkok Post : Business news