NPC moves downstream, awards polyethylene plant

By an OGJ Correspondent
BANGKOK, Aug. 5—Thailand's National Petrochemical PLC (NPC) awarded a $67.89 million contract to the South Korean conglomerate Samsung Engineering Co. to build a new polyethylene plant.

The contract forms a key part of the $130 million investment NPC is putting into building the 250,000 tonne/year facility in Rayong, some 220 km southeast of Bangkok.

It represents NPC's diversification into the downstream phase from its core upstream operation, which currently produces 437,000 tonnes/year of ethylene and 170,000 tonnes/year of propylene based on ethane and propane extracted from natural gas piped from the Gulf of Thailand.

NPC, owned 38% by PTT PLC, Thailand's partially privatized energy concern, said the plant is expected to begin operation in 2004, coinciding with a projected upturn in the petrochemical industry during 2004-05 and an expected rise in petrochemical product prices.

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