Thai Oil expects a cycle of petrochemical business, especially aromatics, to continue to grow for the next 2-3 years on high consumption and demand from China and India as per Pattaralada SaNgasang, strategic planning manager of the PTT subsidiary. China's demand for petrochemical products is about 30 mln tpa, and it imports aromatics of at least about 6 mln tpa. However, there is a shortage of global supply for the compound even though refineries have been speedily constructed.
The Nation reported, "Demand in China continues to rise but there is not enough supply [of petrochemical products], which need to be imported. We don't know who will produce them for China. Now almost no one invests in petrochemical plants due to high investment and the long time to break even. Even though China is trying to build up more petrochemical plants, they are not enough," Pattaralada said. The company is targeting a US$1.5 billion budget, about Bt45 billion, for investing in the energy business until 2014. Of the total, about US$476 mln will be invested in ongoing projects approved by its board of directors, and US$890 mln for projects which are under study. In the next two to three years, the company will decide whether to invest in overseas refineries after starting its trading business in Vietnam. Thai Oil is confident of using its own cash for business expansion. Currently, the company has equities of Bt82.74 billion while its borrowings from financial institutions amount to Bt26.21 billion, giving it a debttoequity ratio of 0.3. This gives it room for more borrowings.