IRPC to invest US$1.4 bln to upgrade refinery, increase petrochem capacity

IRPC plans to invest US$1.4 bln until 2011 on four projects to upgrade its refinery, increase petrochemical capacity and enlarge its deep-sea port. IRPC was formerly known as Thai Petrochemical Industry (TPI). Investment would be made on four projects starting with a refinery improvement program to increase production of high-margin refined oils such as gasoline and diesel. Upon completion, IRPC's maximum refining capacity would be increased to 258,000 pd from the current 215,000 barrels. 10% of its capacity goes to gasoline and diesel and 43% and 20% of the output are for low-margin, high-sulphur diesel together with long-residue oil, and naphtha, respectively. The remaining capacity is for lubricants and asphalt. IRPC also plans to increase its propylene capacity from the current 312,000 tpa to 412,000 tpa by 2011. The project to enlarge its deep seaport to accommodate vast carriers is to be completed by end of 2011. IRPC also plans to join other local refineries including Thai Oil and PTT group to invest US$1 bln in a residue conversion unit, with annual capacity of 70000 to 120000 tons. The residue conversion unit would upgrade refineries by converting their long-residue output to higher-margin oils. IRPC produces 50,000 tpa of long-residue petrol, or 33% of its total output compared to the industry average of 6-7%, he added.
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