BINTULU: The proposed Sarawak Petrochemical Hub in Bintulu is expected to create 74,000 jobs for Sarawakians once fully operational, potentially contributing an additional RM16 billion to RM20 billion per annum to the state’s gross domestic product (GDP), said Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg.

Speaking to reporters during his working visit to the methanol plant project in Tanjung Kidurong here yesterday, he said the hub will allow Sarawak to add value its natural resources in line with the state’s aspiration to intensify high-value downstream activities in the oil and gas sector.

He added that many other forms of services as well as economic activities would arise from the hub.

“We are not only talking about the plant manufacturing, but also other services (and) maintenance. Even other economic activities will arise from this methanol plant.

“So that is the scenario we are in and this is the first ever plant that Sarawak has initiated in petrochemical. Normally we rely on Petronas (but) today we are on our own. Of course we will work together with Petronas especially in terms of technology,” he said.

Abang Johari said 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, while potential industries include a choline chloride plant, mono ethylene plant, and propylene plant.

He also said that Sarawak Economic Development Corporation (SEDC), as the owner of the land, will develop and manage the hub as well as the centralised utility facilities and other common areas, to facilitate participation by potential investors.

“SEDC will provide basic utilities that are prerequisite for any petrochemical plant to come over here,” he added.

The state government has acquired an area approximately 1,068 acres in Tanjung Kidurong for the purpose of developing Sarawak Petrochemical Hub.

It is located 15 kilometres north-east of Bintulu town and approximately 36 kilometres from Samalaju Industrial Park, and is surrounded by energy-related developments such as Petronas LNG Complex, Shell MDS and Sesco power plant, while also adjacent to the mega methanol plant that is being developed.

Meanwhile, Abang Johari said the state Economic Planning Unit is undertaking studies to attract more investors based on petrochemical.

He said there is also interest by other players in the industry to locate their plants over here.

“We have the infrastructure and power and water supply, which are now being aggressively expanded by state government.”

He added the methanol plant would alone need about 320 to 360 staff, including more than 200 technical staff comprising diploma and degree holders.

Abang Johari noted that the future of the petrochemical industry in Sarawak is bright and by working closely with Petronas, the state has an improved technology to supply gas to the world.

“The future of methanol is there, not like crude oil. We have competition with other alternative energy resources especially hydrogen.

“With all the clean energy, the state has an advantage over time, maybe not now but perhaps within 15 to 20 years, and that will be the scenario in the industry,” he said.

Source: The Borneo Post