PTT Asahi Chemical's Acrylonitrile and Methyl Methacrylate Plants, Thailand


The plant was constructed to meet the demands of Thailand

PTT Asahi Chemical (PTTAC), a joint venture (JV) comprising of Asahi Kasei Chemicals Corporation (AKCC) of Japan, PTT Public Company (PTT) of Thailand and Marubeni of Japan, was formally formed in August 2006.

The JV has opened new acrylonitrile (AN) and methyl methacrylate (MMA) plants at Map Ta Phut Industrial Estate in Rayong Province of Thailand.

Asahi Kasei Chemicals holds 48.5% interest in the project, while PTT holds 48.5% interest and Marubeni holds three percent interest.

Construction works for the new plants commenced in June 2008 following the signing of the agreement to construct the plants in March 2008.

Initial production of MMA commenced in August 2012. The project achieved three million lost-time injury-free man hours in January 2013 and started commercial production in the same month. The plants were officially commissioned in February 2013.

The plants have a production capacity of 200,000t per year of AN and 70,000t per year of MMA, including 160,000t per year of the by-product ammonium sulphate (AMS).

The engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract for the project was awarded to Foster Wheeler Asia Pacific.

Financing PTT Asahi Chemical's plants

"The JV has opened new acrylonitrile (AN) and methyl methacrylate (MMA) plants at Map Ta Phut Industrial Estate."

The plants were constructed with an estimated investment of about $750m, funded by $400m of loans from the Bank of Tokyo Mitsubishi-UFJ, Mizuho Corporate Bank, Norinchukin Bank, Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation, Sumitomo Trust & Banking, HSBC and ING Bank.

The plants were constructed to meet the demands of Thailand, which imports about 130,000t of AN per annum, including the requirements to meet the increasing demand from consumers worldwide.

The location of the plants was specifically chosen due to the close proximity to some of the major plants of PTT from where the feedstocks are being sourced. The plants cover about 120 Rai (47 acres) of land at the Hemaraj Eastern Industrial Estate.

The supply of the products within Thailand is being managed by the JV, while the export of the products abroad is being handled by AKCC.

Products to be produced at the Thailand-based plants

AN is a raw material for producing acrylic fabric, carpet and electronic parts, while MMA is used for construction paints and can be produced as PMMA (Poly Methyl Methacrylate), which is a major component of television and computer screens, artificial glass, signboards and tail-lights for cars. PMMA is characterised by high transparency, surface hardness and chemical resistance. AMS, on the other hand, is used as a raw material for fertilisers.

Propane feedstock and process technologies

PTT Asahi's acrylonitrile plant is the world's first propane-process plant to use propane directly as feedstock instead of the conventional propylene, enabling lower production costs. The feedstock for the plant is being sourced from the neighbouring gas separation plant of PTT in Rayong.

"Asahi Kasei Chemicals holds 48.5% interest in the project, while PTT holds 48.5% interest and Marubeni holds three percent."

The production process involves the reaction of propane with ammonia and molecular oxygen, known as ammonisation, in a fluidised-bed reactor containing a catalyst comprising of a compound oxide and a silica carrier.

The compound oxide further consists of molybdenum (Mo), tellurium (Te), vanadium (V) and niobium (Nb). The reaction is performed by including an activator comprising of a tellurium compound and one optional molybdenum compound.

The MMA plant is an acetone cyanohydrin (ACH) process plant, which uses the hydrogen cyanide (HCN) produced during the production of AN. The acetone feedstock for the plant is being sourced from the phenol plant of PTT Phenol Company located within the same complex.

The ACH process involves the reaction of HCN and acetone to produce ACH. The ACH then undergoes acid assisted hydrolysis and esterification with methanol to produce methyl methacrylate.

NRI Energy Technology

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