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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs                   16  September 2011

PTT budgets R&D

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PTT Plc is gearing up to conduct more research and development (R&D) activities into high-value petroleum and polymer products.

The country's biggest energy conglomerate and its subsidiaries have budgeted 3 billion baht (US$98.9 million) for R&D this year, of which 85 percent is for PTT alone.

Prajya Phinyawat, the chief operating officer, said its subsidiaries were still considering their R&D budgets.

"Our goal is to be a Fortune 100 company (up from 118th now) and grow sustainably. For this, we should have our own technology and know-how," he said.

The PTT Group has focused on R&D since 1999, led by IRPC Plc _ the former Thai Petrochemical Industry _ which has registered three patents to date.

The group's first patent came in 2001, and 37 patents have since been registered.

R&D activities will be directed at oil and lubricants, advanced chemicals, performance boosters, catalysts, process technology and green synergy.

A major milestone occurred in 2007, when subsidiary Thaioil Plc began working on R&D in cooperation with Chulalongkorn University's Petroleum and Petrochemical College and King Mongkut's Institute of Technology.

In addition, IRPC has earmarked 2-3 percent of its sales for R&D recently.

Chaicharearn Atibaedya, an executive vice-president of the PTT Research and Technology Institute, said the group was forming an intellectual property office to oversee IP issues and facilitate processes.

"We'll review human resource management in order to encourage staff to work more on R&D," he said.

PTT is now developing many new products such as biofuel from algae as well as the polymer blend chitosan, which is resistant to fungi and bacteria.

The group employs 250 researchers, compared with 100 only five years ago.



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