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November 13-15, 2005
Beijing, China

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December 13-15, 2005
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
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February 5-8, 200
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February 20-22, 200
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June 20-23, 200
Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA

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Posted on  

December 26, 2000

Thailand to Build at Least Four Ethanol Plants to Cut Oil Bill

Thailand's cabinet approved plans to build at least four ethanol plants, costing 2.7 billion baht ($64 million) each, to reduce the nation's oil import bill.

The plants, which will take two years to complete, will produce from sugar cane and other crops up to 2 million liters of ethanol a day, substituting almost 10 percent of the nation's daily gasoline consumption. That would save Thailand, which imports almost all of its crude oil, about 10 billion baht a year.

Adding ethanol would reduce gasoline prices by at least a tenth, Industry Minister Suwat Lipatapallop said after a cabinet meeting this afternoon. The government will provide tax incentives to the plants' builders, he said.

The Thai government is under pressure to ease the effect of high oil prices on the economy, which returned to growth last year after the crisis of 1997-1998. Economic growth more than halved in the third quarter this year to 2.6 percent from the same period last year, as rising oil prices slowed consumer spending and corporate profit.

The use of ethanol will also benefit farmers of sugarcane and rice, the main raw materials for the fuel. Thailand, one of the world's largest exporters of sugar and rice, spent several billion baht to subsidize prices this year as supply exceeded demand.

Brazil, the world's second-largest sugar producer after India, uses ethanol the most to run its cars.

Ford Motor Co., the world's second-biggest automaker, in September signed an agreement with the Thai government to test ethanol on the Ranger pickup truck it assembles in Thailand.


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