BINTULU, July 2 — The proposed Sarawak Petrochemical Hub, when fully operational, is expected to create 74,000 new jobs, which could potentially contribute an additional RM16 billion to RM20 billion per annum to the state’s gross domestic product (GDP), Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Openg said today.
He said this will allow Sarawak to add value to its natural resources in line with its aspiration to intensify downstream activities in the oil and gas (O&G) sector.
“The development of the hub is in line with the government’s policy of encouraging value-added downstream investments in Sarawak,” he told reporters after visiting the state’s methanol project at Tanjung Kidurong here.
The state government has acquired about 1,068 acres of land in Tanjung Kidurong as a site for the hub.
The state Economic Planning Unit is undertaking a joint study with Petronas on the development of the hub’s masterplan, covering petrochemical investment scenarios and options, utilities, infrastructure, support services and layout, capabilities and incentives and implementation, socioeconomics and key success factors.
The chief minister said downstream petrochemical investments in the hub will have a significant socio-economic impact on Sarawak and its people.
He said the hub will be a catalyst for the development of forward-linked industries for intermediate and finished goods to increase Sarawak’s overall economic output.
He added it will generate a broader base of high value, long-term job opportunities that will improve the income levels of Sarawakians.
“It will also create a larger ecosystem for Sarawakians to be involved in business opportunities of providing goods and services to the downstream O&G industry,” the chief minister said.
He said it will also facilitate the development of the state’s human capital to be globally competitive by accelerating the transfer of knowledge and technological expertise and increase the participation of Sarawakians in the development of the gas resources through the increase in domestic value-added activities.
The chief minister said Sarawak aspires to be a developed state by the year 2030 and the growth of its economy will be partly driven by the O&G industry.
He added currently, the state’s O&G products are mainly commodity-based, meant for export, and that the value-added activities are done abroad utilising Sarawak’s natural gas as raw material in petrochemical industries.
He said it is imperative for the state to be involved in developing the high-value downstream products of O&G industries.
“Part of this initiative is the mega methanol plant project which is currently being developed by Sarawak Petchem Sdn Bhd in Tanjung Kidurong.
“Other potential projects for this sector include the production of ammonia, hydrogen, methanol derivatives and other high value-added downstream products such as float glass and siloxane and its derivatives,” he said.
Abang Johari said the state is confident that it will be able to attract more FDIs in the O&G downstream sector in the near future with the establishment of the petrochemical hub.
“The state government intends to transform Bintulu from the current world-renowned LNG gas producer to a petrochemical hub with a future downstream value-added integrated petrochemical complex,” he said.
He explained that Bintulu is considered ideal as it has access to feedstock, being the landing point of offshore gas fields and its close proximity to existing gas pipelines.
He added mass activity such as ammonia/urea, LNG and Gas-to-Liquid (G-t-L) downstream industries are already present in Bintulu, coupled with the heavy industries in nearby Samalaju.
He said Bintulu is also equipped with infrastructure such as a deep-sea port and inter-modal road links, while a new port is being developed in Samalaju.