Sarawak aims to build RM21b oil refinery

by BLOOMBERG / pic by TMR GRAPHIC

KUALA LUMPUR • Sarawak plans to build a US$5 billion (RM21 billion) oil refinery that it aims to start up in 2022.

The complex, in the district of Lawas, would be able to process about 10 million tonnes of oil a year, or about 200,000 barrels a day, according to a Facebook post by the state’s communications office. It would also be able to produce about 1.2 million tonnes a year of ethylene, a plastics building block, and have about 3.2 million tonnes a year of catalytic cracking capacity.

Crude oil would be sourced from the Middle East, Chief Minister Datuk Pattingi Abang Johari Tun Openg said in the post, without mentioning a specific supplier.

If the project gets off the ground, it would follow the nation’s newest such development, the US$27 billion Pengerang refining and petrochemicals complex, situated in Johor. That facility, which is nearing completion, is being built by state-owned Petroliam Nasional Bhd and Saudi Arabian Oil Co.

Sinopec Engineering Inc (SEI) and Beijing BECA Sci-Tech Co signed a non-binding memorandum of understanding with Sarawak to help develop the integrated oil and gas complex, the Sarawak government said in a press release.

SEI’s parent company, China Petrochemical Corp, said the Sinopec unit will provide consultation for the early stages of the project’s design and won’t be involved in any investment decision.