CM: US$5 bln oil refinery in Lawas to be game changer

Abang Johari (front, 4th right) and members of his delegation in a group photo with Sinopec officials before touring the facility.

KUCHING, Nov 30: The proposed US$5 billion (RM20.9 billion) oil refinery in Lawas would be a game changer for development in the northern region and the state economy on a whole, once it comes into realisation..

Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg said the refinery complex should be completed by 2022, if current negotiation and preparation were to proceed as scheduled.

“The Sarawak government is serious in trying to ensure that the project would materialise as scheduled, and would give the necessary support to facilitate its planning and construction,” he said in a statement issued following a briefing at the Sinopec oil refinery complex in Hainan, China, yesterday.

The chief minister was leading a delegation of Sarawak’s officials on a two-day fact-finding trip to the Sinopec oil refining facility located at the Yangpu Economic Development Zone in Northwestern Hainan Island.

Accompanying Abang Johari included Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hasan, who is also the Minister for International Trade and Industry, Industrial Terminal and Entrepreneur Development.

An official of Sinopec Engineering Incorporated, which signed the memorandum of understanding (MoU) as a technology provider with the developer, Beijing BECA Sci-Tech Co Ltd in June last year, said the feasibility study had now entered the phase of designing the processing unit of the facility sited on a 700-hectare piece of land at the Sare peninsular in Lawas.

In his speech during a dinner at the capital city Haikou, hosted by Sinopec Engineering, the chief minister said only some slight adjustments were needed to the original planning to accommodate the approach to the runway of a new airport being planned as a supporting facility to the billion-dollar project.

He said the plant site had been identified and the deep water of Pulau Sare would ease entry and exit of large vessels in the area.

Awang Tengah said the overall development of the area would include the construction of an airport to facilitate air travel in and out of the anticipated booming Lawas town by then.

He gave assurance that electricity to Lawas would be connected to the main state grid by 2022, as the refinery and downstream activities would be expected to finally require a total 380 MW of power.

By then, power from the 1,300MW Balleh hydroelectricity dam would come on stream on the state grid and power supply should not pose any problem, he added.

Awang Tengah said the state government has approved a sum of RM380 million for improving various supporting infrastructural and utility facilities notably water supply in the area which came under the Northern Regional Development Agency (NRDA).

The oil refinery would require about 20 MLD of water for its operation and Awang Tengah reassured that the upgrading of water supply in the area would take this requirement into consideration. — DayakDaily