PTTGCA’s parent company receives recognition
DILLES BOTTOM — The company whose American subsidiary is contemplating construction of an ethane cracker plant in Belmont County is getting international recognition for its efforts to protect the environment.
PTT Global Chemical, now known as GC, is the Bangkok-based parent company of PTT Global Chemical America, which has secured more than 500 acres of property at Dilles Bottom and the necessary permits to build a petrochemical complex there. A final investment decision on the project was recently delayed indefinitely, with company officials citing the COVID-19 pandemic as an obstacle to the project.
Even with the future of that effort uncertain, though, GC continues to operate a diverse portfolio of petrochemical businesses, ranging from manufacturing to distribution of petrochemical products including feedstocks for other companies as well as consumer products such as biodegradable boxes and bags, items made of recycled plastics and textiles.
As a result of its efforts to reduce carbon emissions and protect the environment in its operations, GC recently received recognition from both the Carbon DIsclosure Project and the Dow Jones Sustainability Index.
The CDP gave GC an “A” score for climate change and “A” for water security as one of bout 300 A-list companies that the not-for-profit group highlighted for their growing awareness of environmental issues.
“These 300+ companies are leading the way to a more sustainable future,” the CDP states in its announcement of the list.
Meanwhile, the DJSI listed GC as an “industry leader” for sustainability in 2020.
GC was rated No. 1 among companies in the chemical and was listed in the top 10 companies in the Dow Jones World Indices and Emerging Markets Index for the eighth consecutive year.
Columbus-based PTTGCA spokesman Dan WIlliamson said these rankings should reassure Ohio Valley residents that, if the ethane cracker plant is eventually built, it will be constructed and operated with an eye toward preventing climate change and protecting the air and water of the local region.
“I think people (in Eastern Ohio) wouldn’t know and don’t know what kind of company this is,” WIlliamson said. “It would surprise some to know this company doesn’t just respond to issues such as climate change, they bring these issues up and push themselves to address them.
Williamson said the area’s industrial past may cause some residents to believe conflict between an energy company and those concerned with environmental issues is inevitable; however, he said PTTGCA and GC see issues such as climate change and plastics proliferation as concerns, and the companies take them seriously.
“In Thailand, they are known for bringing these issues to the forefront,” he said. “They aren’t concepts that they just talk about. They act and have been recognized for that.”
WIlliamson said this is becoming increasingly important to many, especially younger people.
“We have to protect our climate. … For a project like this to succeed, we need a company with a record of caring about these issues.
“For the new (presidential) administration in the United States, these issues are a priority,” he added. “It’s important for members of this administration to see this as a company that makes these issues a priority.”
Williamson acknowledged that PTTGCA has heard concerns from local and national environmental groups such as Concerned Ohio River Residents that oppose the project. Members of those groups have said the plant — which would use natural-gas fired furnaces to “crack,” or break apart, ethane molecules from the local natural gas stream — would pollute the air and water of the region, including the Ohio River. They also say the plastics feedstock it would produce is not needed, since efforts are underway to eliminate single-use plastics around the world.
” Overall the concern is that this project is not consistent with environmental protection and will exacerbate these problems … ,” Williamson said. The EPA addressed a lot of these issues through their process. The greater issue of climate change … there is an assumption the project will not be sensitive to the climate. …
“This company actually cares about these issue. … As time goes on new technology will make such projects even more effective in reducing carbon, and this company is committed to seeking those out.
“For this industry to be successful, all companies need to do what this company does — address these issues proactively,” Williamson added. “We need energy. We also need a clean environment. We have to address climate change. We can’t make it an either-or thing.”
The DJSI was jointly established by the S&P Dow Jones Indices and the SAM Corporate Sustainability Assessment and serves as an index to evaluate expertise in sustainable development of leading globally listed companies. CDP, a nonprofit organization recognized as the largest online data source for greenhouse gases, uses a scoring methodology ranging from A to D-; the average score for companies in Asia and for chemical companies is D.
GC CEO Dr. Kongkrapan Intarajang said that the company is committed to operating as a sustainable organization and taking on a pivotal role in mitigating the impacts of climate change while transitioning to a low-carbon community in support of the Paris Agreement and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. GC is taking a leading role responding to climate change through its pledge to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 20% in 2030 from the base year of 2012. By establishing comprehensive water management goals, both internally and externally, GC will ensure that its operations are accountable and that it maintains its leadership position in sustainability at the international level.