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By Karen Bong
BINTULU, Nov 9: Sarawak Methanol Project is set to be the catalyst for future downstream value-added petrochemical industries that will position Bintulu away from being a world-renowned liquified natural gas (LNG) producer to a petrochemical hub in Sarawak.
Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg emphasised that the methanol and derivatives project is one of two initiatives by the Sarawak government to increase its participation in downstream petrochemical industries.
“We want to maximise the natural gas utilisation through downstream industries in Sarawak which has the biggest gas reserve in Malaysia at about 60 per cent.
“This gas reserve should be the basis for Sarawak to go further downstream and maximise its activities in the oil and gas sector.
“We have been an exporter of LNG, ammonia and urea utilising natural gas as the feedstock for the industry. The irony is that the value-added activities are done abroad utilising our natural gas as raw materials in their petrochemical industries,” he told a press conference after visiting the Sarawak Petchem Methanol Project in Tanjung Kidurong here today.
To realise this objective, Abang Johari said that Bintulu will become the petrochemical hub in Sarawak through the establishment of Sarawak Economic Development Corporation (SEDC) Petchem Hub and create added value downstream activities.
He is certain that the Sarawak Methanol Project will be a catalyst to further transform Bintulu to a petrochemical hub with a future downstream value-added integrated petrochemical complex.
“This will multiply the value of our natural resources which will benefit the State economically, derived through its value chains,” he added.
Without elaborating further, Abang Johari hinted that a large investment is in the works and will utilise part of the products from methanol to produce parts related to medical equipment.
“I will announce it later. Foreign investors are very confident in Sarawak because Sarawak can deliver, Sarawakians are friendly people and most importantly, (there is) political stability.
“We have leaders working in a team also and have certain visions for the future. By 2030, Sarawak will be transformed to be a developed State with high income
“I hope that by 2024, we will sell methanol outside of Sarawak,” he said.
On the progress of the Sarawak Methanol Project which started construction in July last year, Abang Johari said he was impressed with the development so far with all the basic foundations in place.
The Chief Minister thus conveyed his appreciation to the Sarawak Petchem management and their project partners the Samsung Engineering Company Limited (SECL) and China Communications Construction Company (M) Sdn Bhd (CCCCM).
“This project marks another significant milestone, not only in industrialising the State, but more importantly the realisation of a Sarawak company venturing into the oil and gas industry particularly in the downstream petrochemical sector,” he said.
With Sarawak aspiring to be a developed State by year 2030, he pointed out that the State government and its entire apparatus together with the participation of the private sector are putting in all efforts to ensure Sarawak achieves industrialised status.
“As part of our industrialisation agenda, we want to make a high value petrochemical industry as one of the key drivers in the growth of the State’s manufacturing sector and Sarawak Petchem will play a significant role in this effort,” he added.
Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hasan, Minister of Utilities Dato Sri Dr Stephen Rundi Utom, Sarawak Petchem chairman Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Husain, Bintulu Resident Datu Jack Aman Luat and Bintulu Development Authority general manager Datu Muhammad Yakup Kari were among those present. — DayakDaily