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By Peter Sibon
KUCHING, June 10: Sarawak government today signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Beijing Beca Sci-Tech Co. Ltd and Sinopec Engineering Incorporation for an investment worth a staggering RM20.8 billion.
The proposed integrated oil and gas complex to be built at a 400ha site at Pulau Sari in Lawas would be able to provide direct employment of 1,000 in its first phase and about 20,000 during its three-year construction period and expected commencement of production in 2022.
Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg told reporters after the MoU signing ceremony that this proposed initiative would be a game-changer for northern Sarawak, particularly in Lawas and Limbang.
“The Sarawak government will assist by providing all the supporting facilities. (This would include) of course, including the development of a port in Lawas,” he said.
Abang Johari emphasised that the state government wanted to ensure that all parts of the state would enjoy the fruits of development, and this proposed mega project in Lawas would bring major development and jobs to the northern region.
“This investment, when it becomes a reality, will definitely speed up development in Sarawak, from southern, central as well as the northern part, and it will be coordinated by (Deputy Chief Minister) Datuk Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hasan, who is chairman of the Northern Development Authority (Northern Region Development Agency),” he said.
The products produced in Lawas would be polyethylene and polypropylene, which are crucial for the plastic industry, and the raw materials would be imported from the Middle East.
Meanwhile, Awang Tengah said all the parties involved would carry out feasibility studies before constructing the complex.
“What we do today is the MoU to facilitate them to carry out the feasibility studies. Hopefully, these feasibility studies can be completed in less than a year. We expect to start the project in stages, in the fourth quarter of 2019. That is the first phase schedule,” he said, adding that the preliminary studies had been done.
He disclosed that Sinopec Engineering Incorporation is one of the biggest petrochemical players in China and has a vast network in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait.
Pulau Sari was picked as it boasts natural deep water, making it ideal for a port with a depth of between 15 and 25 metres.
“The product will be marketed to China and the off-takers in this region. And why they choose Lawas is because it is strategically located within that region, especially the (BIMP-EAGA) region and the consumer market. But the off-takers will be mainly from China,” he said. — DayakDaily