KUCHING: Beijing Beca Sci-Tech Co Ltd (Beca) plans to invest about US$5bil (RM20.8bil) in an integrated petrochemical complex in Lawas, Sarawak.
The proposed refinery and chemical integration complex, which will be implemented in stages, is scheduled to commence production in 2022.
The project’s feasibility study is currently underway and construction work on phase one is planned to start in the fourth quarter of this year.
The Lawas petrochemical complex will include a world-class deep catalytic cracking (DCC) and associated olefin derivative unit, using world leading know-how, according to Beca president Hao Liang.
“The project will have (a production capacity of ) 10 million tonnes per year of refinery, 1.2 million tonnes per year of ethylene and 3.2 million tonnes a year of DCC,” he said at the signing ceremony of a tripartite memorandum of understanding (MoU) between the Sarawak government, Beca and Sinopec Engineering Inc.
Beca is a petrochemical investor and Sinopec, its technical partner.
The MoU signatories were Sarawak Industrial and Entrepreneur Development Ministry permanent secretary Datuk Liaw Soon Eng, Hao and Sinopec vice-president Zhao Xiangdong.
Sarawak Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg and Deputy Chief Minister and Industrial and Entrepreneur Development Minister Datuk Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hasan witnessed the event.
Johari told reporters after the signing ceremony that once operational, the Lawas petrochemical complex would source its feedstock from the Middle East, then refine it and sell the end-products to the consumer market.
The project is expected to generate annual sales of about US$1.5bil, according to Hao.
Johari said the Sarawak government would assist Beca in the provision of supporting facilities, such as the development of a port in Lawas to facilitate the import of feedstock and shipment of the refined products. A site for the port has been identified.
Hao said the strategic cooperation between the Sarawak government, Beca and Sinopec finally got underway after six months of consultation and development.
Awang Tengah and his ministry officials were in Beijing last December to discuss the project.
“With a total investment of more than US$5bil, it is the largest investment in Sarawak and the most important project of Beca. Based on our existing investment, the project will take our business and industry to a whole new level.
“Beca’s chemical development strategy is to provide petrochemical structure units and polyolefin products to individual customers in China, South-East Asia and Asia. The Lawas petrochemical project is a ‘win-win’ project for Sarawak, Sinopec and Beca,” he said.
Hao said that as a capital, technology and talent-intensive industry, the project would attract mid-stream and downstream supporting industries and would inject strong momentum into Sarawak’s economy.
“The project will also significantly drive industrial development in the surrounding economic zone and attract upstream and downstream manufacturing and services industries.”
Hao said the project is expected to run at world-class levels, using the latest designs to implement the highest environmental standards.
“There are more than 1,000 direct employment positions in the first phase of the project. A large number of employment opportunities will be created during the construction phase.
“At the peak of construction, the number of on-site staff will exceed 20,000 people,” he added.