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Lenzing contracts John Wood Group for EPCM services for Thai lyocell plant

Austria-headed cellulose fiber major Lenzing AG (Lenzing Group) has recently revealed that it has selected Scotland-headed infrastructure engineering and construction major John Wood Group PLC (Wood) to provide Engineering, Procurement, and Construction Management (EPCM) services for its planned lyocell production plant in Thailand.

Lenzing AG (Lenzing Group) has recently revealed that it has selected Scotland-headed infrastructure engineering and construction major John Wood Group PLC (Wood) to provide Engineering, Procurement, and Construction Management (EPCM) services for its planned lyocell production plant in Thailand (photo courtesy Lenzing AG).

The Lyocell process is a state-of-the-art method for producing fibers from wood. These fibers are used in everyday fabrics including clothing and non-woven applications such as wipes. With its recently announced plans to establish a lyocell production facility in Thailand, Lenzing Group takes an important step in meeting the strong demand for lyocell fibers while further strengthening the company’s position as an industry leader in the specialty cellulosic fibers market.

The proposed plant will be the largest lyocell plant in the world, with an annual capacity of 100 000 tonnes. The total investment volume for the first production line, including infrastructure and site development, amounts to approximately EUR 400 million. Up to four such lines can be potentially integrated and operated on the site.

Industrial Park 304 in Prachinburi: the ideal site

The project to build a plant in Prachinburi, Thailand was approved in June 2019. According to Lenzing, Industrial Park 304 in Prachinburi, located about 150 kilometers east of the Thai capital Bangkok, was selected due to its excellent overall infrastructure and the sustainable biogenic energy supply, which will help Lenzing meet its ambitious carbon dioxide (CO2) targets.

Above all, the excellent cooperation with the Thailand Board of Investment (BOI), the country’s free trade agreements with China and easy access to ASEAN’s growing middle-class market were all decisive factors in selecting this site.

The availability of local staff for the planned workforce of close to 300 employees with the required educational background to drive growth was also an important factor. The well-established operator of the industrial park, with whom Lenzing has already signed contracts for utility services, was also a reason for choosing Prachinburi.

Wood – the ideal engineering partner

A further important step was the selection of a professional engineering partner for crucial tasks such as detailed engineering, purchasing, and construction management and supervision, including quality, safety, cost and progress control. These services will be provided as part of an Engineering, Procurement, and Construction Management (EPCM) contract.

With Wood, Lenzing says it has found the ideal partner for this – both companies signed an EPCM contract on August 15, 2019. Wood was selected on the basis of having the skills needed for a project of this size and an experienced team with a strong reputation for delivering in line with project stipulations.

Growing organically on a global scale requires a strong partner in designing and building up the production assets. I am convinced that we have found the right partner in Wood. During the kick-off meetings we could feel the energy of the integrated team and their eagerness to drive that project to successful completion and start-up in the second half of 2021, said Heiko Arnold, CTO of the Lenzing Group.

An important element for Lenzing is the start-up date of this project which was also confirmed by Wood. Following the plant completion in the third quarter of 2021, Lenzing expects to produce the first fibers at this site in the fourth quarter of the same year.

We are delighted to have been chosen by Lenzing to help deliver what will be the world’s largest lyocell plant. Being selected to lead a project of this scale and complexity is testament to the outstanding technical capability we have in our Asia Pacific business, and our strong understanding of the local market environment in Thailand where we have been operating for over 50 years, said Mike Collins, President of Capital Projects in Wood’s Asset Solutions business across Europe, Africa, Asia, and Australia.

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