Exxon to invest over $6 billion in Thai ethylene facility


Texas-based global energy firm Exxon Mobil is set to crack open the Thai market for petrochemicals with plans to invest $6.3 billion in an ethylene cracker facility near its refinery in Chonburi province and near Laem Chabang deep-sea port where it can export what it produces, company executives said last week.

Exxon Mobil Senior Vice President Jack P. Williams informed the Thai government of its investment plan during a meeting last week with Deputy Prime Minister Somkid Jatusripitak who oversees the economic ministries. Somkid told reporters that Exxon executive have a favorable view of the Thai  economy and its growth potential, and would like to see the Kingdom serve as the company’s export hub in Asia.

Exxon Mobil’s investment will also include funds for downstream operations, consisting of a refinery and chemical manufacturing plant in Sri Racha, a network of distribution terminals and service stations, and increased production of lubricants. Exxon executives also asked the government for assistance in finding appropriate land plots in the area that it could purchase to build its facilities. The company would need to build a pipeline to connect its cracker to its refinery in the area.

An ethylene cracker uses other liquids or gasses, usually ethane or propane, to create ethylene through heating at extremely high temperatures, compression and distillation. Ethylene is one of the basic chemical building blocks used by industry to create many everyday products from plastics to fuels.

Exxon Mobil’s willingness to invest in an ethylene cracker in Thailand is an indicator that the Kingdom is still able to attract traditional heavy industries despite beginning its transition to a higher technology economy, and that the country’s transport and logistics capabilities are still highly competitive.

Exxon Mobil has been doing business in Thailand for over 120 years, beginning with trading fuel products under its Esso brand.

The company says that it has a full range of downstream operations including the refinery and chemical manufacturing facilities at Sri Racha, and a network of distribution terminals and service stations. Exxon also has an onshore natural gas production site in Khon Kaen province in the northeast.

In addition, the company has a Business Support Center in Bangkok that provides accounting, human resources, information technology, retail operations, procurement, treasury, card operations, taxes and customer services to various ExxonMobil affiliates around the world.

Photo courtesy of http://www.esso.co.th/en-th/energy/oil/oil-operations/sriracha-refinery