KUCHING, July 23: Sarawak Economic Development Corporation (SEDC) is optimistic that Bintulu has the potential to translate its strength as a world-renowned Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) producer towards being a similarly recognised petroleum chemical (PetChem) hub in the near future with the establishment of the Sarawak Petrochemical Hub.
“The development of the hub which was announced by Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg on July 2 will also help to boost the Sarawak government’s efforts in job creation along with contributing a potential of RM16 billion to RM20 billion to the state in terms of Gross Domestic Product (GDP),” SEDC chairman Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Husain revealed in a statement, today.
In line with Bintulu’s expected exponential economic growth, he disclosed SEDC has decided to buy two parcels of vacant land measuring some 1,002.2 acres located at Kidurong Industrial area off Jalan Sabekas at Tanjong Kidurong with a price of RM340 million because the land was a well-calculated strategic business decision.
It is also the only big piece of land available near the LNG petrochemical complex that is close to the seafront.
According to Abdul Aziz, the price for the land represented a discount of RM60 million or approximately 15 per cent over the market value of RM400 million and is well below market value based on a valuation by the state’s Land and Survey Department as well as independent valuers.
He added that SEDC got the land for a bargain and below market price at RM339,000 per acre even though the Land and Survey Department’s valuation was at RM344,000 per acre.
“The establishment of the Sarawak Petrochemical Hub will create a buzz of interest for key players in petrochemical industries and potentially it would attract investors as well as foreign direct investments (FDIs) where in return these will provide foreign funding, expertise and technologies to diversify industry, economy into downstream activities and products,” he pointed out.
The acquisition of land would enable SEDC to leverage on the establishment of the hub where the future downstream value-added integrated petrochemical complex will be located.
“Bintulu is considered ideal for the establishment of the hub due to the accessibility to feedstock, being the landing point of offshore gas fields and close proximity to existing gas pipelines as well as the mass of activities such as ammonia/urea, LNG and Gas-to-Liquid (G-t-L) downstream industries which are already available there coupled with the heavy industries in nearby Samalaju.
“We must be aware the global demands for petrochemicals is surging and it will continue to grow. Thus, Sarawak has the potential to be an exporter of major or high value downstream petrochemical products generated through the investment activities in the hub.
“Petrochemical products are everywhere and are integral to modern societies. They include plastics, fertiliser, packaging, clothing, digital devices, medical equipment, detergents, all modes of transportation and vehicles, kitchen utensils, and many others. They are also found in many parts of the modern energy system, including solar panels, wind turbine blades, batteries, thermal insulation for buildings, and electric vehicle parts,” Abdul Aziz added.
According to him, it is expected that petrochemicals will account for more than one third of the global oil demand growth by 2030 and around half by 2050, according to an International Energy Agency (IEA) report titled ‘The Future of Petrochemicals — Towards more sustainable plastics and fertilisers.’
He noted that once completed and fully operational, the petrochemical hub will also stimulate Sarawak’s economic development towards becoming an export oriented economy where the development of centralised utility facilities would generate revenue from services provided to industry players.
This includes facilities maintenance, internal transport system, waste management, security services, centralised power distribution, water supplies, Air Separation Units (ASU), steam, gas feeds and other feed-stocks.
“In addition to stimulating Sarawak’s economy, the hub will also improve the quality of life for our local folks whereby there are jobs available there, and public transportation and infrastructure would be developed and enhanced,” Abdul Aziz asserted. — DayakDaily