Petronas Chemicals gears up for 80%-85% plant utilisation rate

KUALA LUMPUR: Integrated chemicals producer, Petronas Chemicals Group Bhd (PCG) is currently pushing for a higher average plant utilisation rate of between 80 to 85 percent in a bid to drive sales volume.

PCG President  and  Chief Executive Officer Datuk Sazali Hamzah said the company's efforts in this respect are progressing well.

"PCG has improved operational excellence, with a plant utilisation rate of 80 per cent last year compared with 78 per cent in 2013, and for 2015 our utilisation rate is expected to rise to 80 to 85 per cent.

"And with the latest Sabah Ammonia Urea (SAMUR) plant due for commission next year, PCG's utilisation rate could hit beyond 85 per cent from 2016," he told Bernama on the sidelines of the 3rd Hazards Asia Pacific symposium held here today.

Sazali said PCG has successfully completed its last planned turnaround activities and several of its plants achieve world-class operational excellence, as measured through reliability and utilisation.

"The target now is mainly to achieve plant reliability. 

"When a plant achieves high reliability and higher utilisation rate, the cost per metric tonne would be much lower," Sazali explained.

On the SAMUR project in Sipitang, Sabah and the Refinery and Petrochemical Integrated Development (RAPID) in Pengerang, Johor, Sazali said they are progressing well and on track.

"SAMUR is 90 per cent completed and we target to commission it by the first quarter of 2016.

"As for RAPID, as far as I know the project is also progressing as planned," he said.

The world-class SAMUR project aims to produce 740,000 metric tonnes per annum (mtpa) of liquid ammonia and 1.2 mtpa of granulated urea.

Meanwhile, RAPID is expected to produce 7.7 mtpa of differentiated and specialty chemicals such as synthetic rubber and high-grade polymers, and its refinery will be capable of producing petrol and diesel that meet Euro 4 and Euro 5 fuel specifications.

While increasing its plant utilisation rate is likely to result in more business for PCG and better earnings for the group, Sazali said the industry remains challenging in 2015 due to uncertain prices of petrochemical products.

The three-day symposium beginning today is being attended by some 150 process safety practitioners and industry experts.

PCG is the conference partner for the event, which is jointly organised by the Institute of Chemical Engineers (IChemE) and the Chemical Industries Council of Malaysia (CICM).

Earlier at the symposium, Sazali said PCG is continuously benchmarking its Health, Safety and Environment (HSE) standards against the industry's best practices to sustain operational excellence and reduce potential risks.

"At PCG, good HSE management translates into operational excellence as well as marketing and sales, and innovation excellence.

"Maintaining good HSE performance is a must as this is considered as a licence for chemical companies to continue to operate," he said in his speech.-Bernama

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