IRPC’s future plans on hold

As per Thai petrochemical giant IRPC’s plans, construction on 16 of 19 projects was to commence in 2010 at an investment outlay of US$1.2 bln spread over 5 years. However, the construction of these projects seems likely be delayed, as petrochem players await a solution to the Map Ta Phut mess. Construction of future projects depends on the establishment of an independent agency to comment on projects identified as having a severe effect on their surrounding communities. The process will have to comply with the Article 67 (2) of the Constitution. If they are found to have a severe impact on the environment, a health-impact assessment (HIA) will have to be conducted to comply with the Constitution. Interestingly, Thailand does not have guidelines for the HIA process, making the future of most projects in Map Ta Phut bleak. The Central Administrative Court has recently refused approval to 30 suspended projects that sought a relaxation of the court's ban on construction on grounds that this will have no impact on the environment. Since 16 of IRPC's 19 planned projects have been passed an environmental-impact assessment (EIA) they await the establishment of the independent agency to go ahead with construction. The 16 projects include a project to increase propylene production capacity from 200,000 tpa to 300,000 tpa, expansion of styrene capacity from 200,000 tpa to 260,000 tpa.
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