KUCHING: A RM8.4bil methanol plant project is to be implemented in Sarawak Corridor of Renewable Energy (Score) in Bintulu.
Sarawak Deputy Chief Minister and Minister for Industrial and Entrepreneur Development Minister Datuk Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hasan said the methanol and derivative project was one of the two initiatives of the state government to embark on more downstream value-adding petro-chemical industries.
He said the other project being planned was an ammonia and derivative plant.
Petroliam Nasional Bhd (Petronas) and state-owned Yayasan Hartanah Bumiputera Sarawak signed a memorandum of understanding on the methanol project last year.
The parties had earlier conducted a joint feasibility study on the project.
“Sarawak has a sizeable reserve of oil and natural gas that drive our economic growth. Sarawak holds the largest share of the remaining Malaysia gas reserve at 54% and holds one-third of the remaining oil reserve at 29%,”
“We (Sarawak) have prospered because of these resources. But we cannot continue to export our natural resources in the raw forms,” said Awang Tengah at the opening of International Energy Week (IEW) 2018 here yesterday.
The IEW is Malaysia’s biggest three-in-one energy, petroleum and infrastructure event, comprising ElectropowerAsia 18, PetroleumAsia 18 and Asia Infrastructure 18 exhibitions.
The expo drew over 120 companies from 11 countries.
Awang Tengah said Bintulu had the necessary infrastructure to become the regional hub for the petro-chemical industries. Bintulu is home to three Malaysian liquified natural gas (LNG) plants and nine LNG trains as well as Shell MDS plant, which produces gasoline, kerosene, distillate fuel oil and lubricants.
On hydroelectric dam projects, he said Sarawak government, via state-owned Sarawak Energy Bhd, would invest about RM8bil in the construction of the proposed Baleh dam in upper Rejang Basin.
The proposed Baleh dam, which is currently under construction, will have an installed capacity of 1,285MW,and is expected to be commissioned by 2025.
Awang Tengah said SEB had spent RM4.1bil to build Murun hydro dam (944MW),which is in full operation,and paid the federal government RM8.1bil to take full control of the Bakun dam (2,400MW).
He said SEB’s current generation mix was made up of hydro (75%), gas and coal (25%).
On Score, he said private investments in 22 projects, mainly energy-intensive industries in Samalaju Industrial Park, had reached RM33.6bil.
In the first nine months-2017, he said Sarawak had approved RM10.5bil worth of investments. This excludes a proposed steel plant project that would cost RM12.6bil from investment from China.
“Score initiatives not only able to attract huge private investments. They also lead to the opening up of interior regions as more roads and bridges are built,linking hydro power dams and the surrounding villages.
“These investments have also created spin-off effects for our local business communities,especially the SEMs in constriction sector, logistic, supplies of building materials,plants and machineries, catering, maintenance of plant and equipment.
“In Samalaju Industrial Park alone, the estimated current spin-off effects to the local economy are estimated at RM506mil per month,” he added.
On infrastructure development, Awang Tengah said the state governmment had approved the remaining works for the coastal road network to replace existing ferry services across rivers with bridges.
He said the coastal road network and the Pan Borneo Highway project, which covers 1,089km at an estimated cost of RM16.5bil, would improve connectively statewide.
According to Awang Tengah, RM3.55bil (both federal and state) had been approved under the 11th Malaysia Plan on water supply projects to provide treated water for villagers and industries.