PTT & Bangchak to Boost Regional Biochemical Hub in Thailand

PTT and Bangchak Corp. have lately declared their strong determination to promote Thailand as a regional hub for biochemical production after the Covid-19 pandemic. Thailand needs to add more values to biofuel by using it as a raw material for biochemical industries, so various kinds of products, namely food and medicine as well as personal care products like cosmetics, are necessarily manufactured. Although the country is a major producer of biofuel in the region, when global oil prices rose above $90 per barrel over the past two decades, biofuel prices have become less competitive than refined oil since 2014. The main biofuel produced in Thailand is ethanol, which is made from cassava and sugar, and methyl esters, which are made from palm oil.

Mrs. Arawadee Photisaro, PTT’s Senior Executive Vice President, said that the PTT Plc. Had for a long time saw an opportunity to add more values to biofuel because it could be upgraded to materials that could fetch up to 40 times the price (equivalent to raw materials). In terms of corporate strategies, it means using raw materials in the pharmaceutical industry, added Mrs. Arawadee during a webinar organized by the Convention and Exhibition Bureau, the Thai Chamber of Commerce, Bangkok Post and Post Today.

PTT Plc., with cooperation of Mitsubishi Chemical Corp., has since 2011 established Polybutylene Succinate (PBS) Plant in Rayong with production capacities of 20,000 tons annually. The PBS is a biodegradable plastic that is mainly used in the packaging industry for food and cosmetics. BBGI Co, the biotechnology affiliate of Bangchak Corp., has entered the high-value bio-based segment through the acquisition of an 800-million-baht stake in Manus Bio, based in the United States, which is the world leading biotechnology manufacturer. The progress arose after Bangchak Corp. had announced an investment in synthetic biology, or synbio, a branch of sciences that deals with the design of new organisms for specific purposes by engineering new capabilities. Mr. Kittiphong Limsuwanroj, the BBGI Executive Chair, explained in details that the company was developing a synbio factory worth 1.2 billion baht. 

“Construction of the synbio factory began last year and was expected to complete and operate in 2023,” concluded Mr. Kittiphong.