3,000 rai of land reclaimed | 330Billion Baht Investment
A significant boost for the EEC and Si Racha District
US energy company Exxon Mobil is committed to spending roughly 330 billion baht on its ethylene cracker and refinery expansion project in Si Racha District, Chon Buri province. The Texas-based parent has planned the expansion since March 2018.
Exxon Mobil has operated in Thailand for more than 120 years under the operation of SET-listed Esso (Thailand) Plc. The refinery plant in Si Racha has a maximum capacity of 174,000 barrels per day. Chon Buri is a host province of the flagship Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC) scheme, together with Chachoengsao and Rayong.
Industry Minister Suriya Juangroongruangkit revealed that the Industrial Estate Authority of Thailand (IEAT) is studying the allocation of land to support the investment of Exxon Mobil Corporation in their expanded petrochemical project at Laem Chabang Port.
The Ministry and IEAT have agreed to reclaim 3,000 rai of land near Laem Chabang port, half or 1,500 rai will be allocated to Exxon Mobil’s new factory, while the rest will be reserved for future industrial estate development projects to be carried out by the IEAT.
The minister further explained that Exxon Mobil proposed to fill the sea near their existing refinery in Laem Chabang since the new petrochemical factory will need a supply of raw material from the refinery, so putting them close to each other would help reduce transports cost.
The Ministry of Industry has already tasked the Petroleum Institute of Thailand with studying the project’s feasibility and environmental impact. The study started in August and is expected to take six months.
Suriya said that if the research proves that the project is worth the investment while posing no severe threats to the environment, land reclamation should begin as soon as possible. New highly advanced Landfilling technology creates minimal environmental impact, as has been seen in many industrial countries such as Japan, Singapore and Hong Kong.
The Thai Government will invite US embassy officials and Exxon Mobil to meet with state agencies again to conclude the incentives. The ministry is weighing the pros and cons of this project carefully; when finished, this project will help boost the economy, create more jobs, and promote the transfer of high technology from foreign partners.
Thai law dictates that all land reclamation projects must be carried out by government agencies. Therefore, IEAT will be responsible for the reclamation process, a wholly private joint-venture may be formed to increase efficiency.
Mr. Suriya said local activists would oppose the plan, and the government will listen to their opinions, as well as villagers and businesses. He also added, “if the study shows the reclaimed land will create an economic stimulus, the government needs to promote this project.”