Friday, Dec 15, 2017
Energy | Asia-Pacific | Thailand

Powering Thailand into the future


5 years ago

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Committed to quality and performance, the foundations of Thaioil's success are flexibility, efficiency and reliability

Established in 1961 and half owned by the state, Thaioil is PTT Group’s manufacturing arm and a hugely important contributor to Thailand’s energy security.  Of the country’s total petroleum product supply, Thaioil is responsible for nearly one-third.

Thaioil’s four-part distribution system – comprising pipeline, rail, truck and ship loading – can deliver up to 10 million litres a day, making it the largest and most modernized in Thailand. This system also saved the day during the flooding last year. As other refineries were flooding out, Thaioil – who was safely away from the affected area – was able to keep up production and distribution through truck loading, thus ensuring energy security throughout the natural disaster.

Thaioil, with a market capitalization of some 150 billion baht (£3 billion), is the largest refinery in Thailand and one of the largest in Southeast Asia, as well, producing about 80 per cent for local consumption and the remainder for export. Yet size isn’t the company’s only hallmark; Khun Surong Bulakul, CEO of Thaioil, points out that “we are the first refinery who completed the Euro IV Standard. We had launched the Euro IV Fuel Quality on October 1. That means that we are the leader in terms of product quality.”

Aside from world-class quality, Mr Surong also highlights Thaioil’s flexibility, reliability and efficiency as keys to the company’s success. “We have flexibility in terms of running the operation mode and in terms of choosing the product that we are going to produce,” he says. “We also have reliability. The plant is very reliable. We are currently operating at 100 per cent capacity while the rest of the world is running about 80 per cent. So this is full utilization of the available assets.

“Efficiency is the third factor. We are one of the lowest operating plants in terms of cost for production. Our cash operating cost is below $1.50 per barrel.”

Mr Surong explains that in a way, the company is a behind-the-scenes actor who ensures the country runs smoothly. “Thaioil is behind as a manufacturer, almost invisible to our customers, meaning that we are everywhere in terms of energy, but we are not seen very often. But that doesn’t mean that our impact on the Thai community is any less important.”

Although petroleum is Thaioil’s bread and butter, the company is also committed to alternative energy. “Ethanol is the future of Thailand,” says the CEO, who adds that it can be made from tapioca and pineapple skin, as well as from sugar cane. “I think this is an advantage of our biodiversity resources and Thailand could be a leader in this area.”

In addition to using sugarcane from Thailand, Thaioil is further expanding into Myanmar where there is more land available. The soil in the area near the Thai-Myanmar is known to have cadmium, which though a health hazard when eaten, does not have any negative affects on ethanol production and use.

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