KUALA LUMPUR, April 18 — Sarawak will undertake a methanol and methanol derivatives project with the first plant worth US$800 million (US$1=RM4.40) expected to be ready by 2021, Chief Minister Datuk Amar Abang Johari Abang Openg said.
The project will play a significant role in Sarawak’s economic transformation and extend the oil and gas downstream value-chain to transform the state into a petrochemical hub in the region.
“We must go downstream, rather than just use it for energy. When we go downstream, a lot of byproducts will give great impact to our economy.
“The project is expected to create huge job opportunities to Sarawakians, our engineers will return, and there would be many spin-off effects such on logistics and maintenance,” he told a press conference after witnessing the signing of a tripartite memorandum of understanding (MoU) for the project here today.
The MoU for the Engineering, Procurement, Construction and Commissioning (EPCC) was signed between a Sarawak government’s entity, Yayasan Hartanah Bumiputera Sarawak (YHBS), and a consortium between China Huanqiu Contracting and Engineering Co Ltd (HQC) and MACfeam Sdn Bhd, a subsidiary of Pegasus Diversified Bhd.
Abang Johari said the proposed complex, which would be 100 per cent owned by the Sarawak government, would be built at an 80.9-hectare site in Bintulu, near the Samalaju Industrial Park.
“The plant could produce up to 5,000 metric tonne methanol per day.
“In three to four years’ time, the methanol price is expected to rebound. We hope by the time the plant is completed, it hits the right market,” he added.
The MoU is aimed at establishing official working relationship and ensuring the cooperation between YHBS and HQC-MACfeam consortium on the EPCC works and setting the milestones to ensure that the project progressed on a fast-track mode.
Meanwhile, MACfeam Director Datuk Ismail Mohamed told Bernama that the entire project costing over US$2 billion, which comprised three plants, would be developed in two phases.
The plants are expected to be completed between seven and 20 years’ time, he said, adding that the project was included under the China’s Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st-century Maritime Silk Road’ or the ‘One Belt, One Road’ initiative.
“We have already registered this project under the ‘One Belt, One Road’ initiative. The money will come from the Chinese government. The technology transfer to the locals will be managed by MACfeam” he added. — Bernama