By D’Drift Team
BINTULU, July 2: The development of the Sarawak Petrochemical Hub here is expected to create 74,000 new jobs in Sarawak, which could potentially generate an additional RM16 billion to RM20 billion per annum for the state’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg emphasised that Bintulu and Sarawak’s future will be bright with the oil and gas industry being one of the drivers of the economy.
“This is the first petrochemical plant initiated as normally we rely on Petronas but today we have our own while working together with Petronas especially in terms of technology.
“The setting up of the mega methanol plant alone would require about 320 to 360 staff, out of which 200 are technical staff.
“Moreover, there will be a lot of other services needed in this hub other than the plant such as maintenance and even other economic activities arising from this plant,” he told a press conference during a visit to the methanol plant project site in Tanjung Kidurong here today.
As it is Sarawak’s ambition to transform Bintulu from its current position as a world-renowned LNG gas producer to a petrochemical hub with a future downstream value-added integrated petrochemical complex, Abang Johari said that the state government has thus identified Tanjung Kidurong as a strategic site for this purpose.
“This is because Bintulu has access to feedstock being the landing point of offshore gas fields, mass activities such as ammonia/urea, the heavy industries in nearby Samalaju, and equipped with relevant infrastructure such as the deep sea port and intermodal road links,” he explained.
Three suitable parcels of land at the Kemena Land District with a total area of approximately 1,068 acres in Tanjung Kidurong have been acquired for the purpose of developing the Sarawak Petrochemical Hub.
“The future is green here as we work together with Petronas (to develop the methanol plant) because it is quite similar to the one in Labuan.
“The future of methanol is there, unlike crude oil, in which there will be competition with other alternative energy resources especially hydrogen that can be set up here as well,” he said.
Other potential projects for this sector which can be developed in the hub, Abang Johari added, include the production of ammonia, hydrogen, methanol derivatives and other high value added downstream products such as float glass and siloxane and its derivatives.
“Sarawak has got the advantage, but of course not now as this could be in 15 to 20 years. That’s the scenario of the industry,” he said.
The Economic Planning Unit Sarawak (EPUS), he continued, is currently undertaking a joint study with Petronas, on the development of the Sarawak Petrochemical Hub Masterplan.
“They are inviting industry players to locate their investments in the hub which will be managed by Sarawak Economic Development Corporation (SEDC).
“SEDC will also develop and manage the centralised utility facilities for any petrochemical plant set up here,” he added.
Abang Johari strongly believes that the growth in the oil and gas industry will contribute significantly towards the development of Sarawak and help the state to achieve its aspiration of becoming a developed state by 2030. — DayakDaily