In a move that will help increase its production of higher-value specialty products, Thailand's IRPC plans to build a 160,000 tpa propylene plant by 2014, subject to board approval, as per Platts. The location and the value of the project are not known.
The new plant will help meet all of IRPC's feedstock requirements to make polypropylene, and create a surplus of propylene that will be used to produce more specialty products. At present, IRPC has a total propylene capacity of 312,000 tpa from its steam cracker in Rayong province. The unit is able to run at 11% above its nameplate capacity. In addition, IRPC currently buys propylene from shareholder PTT in order to make polypropylene. IRPC has to buy at least 120,000 tpa of propylene if its steam cracker and 475,000-500,000 tpa PP plant at Rayong are run at full capacity. The company is in the process of building a metathesis plant or olefins conversion unit at Rayong, with capacity to produce 100,000 tpa of propylene. The OCU, being built at a cost of $88 million, is due to come online by December 2012.