Petronas to proceed with $20b refinery and petrochemical project

KUALA LUMPUR (REUTERS) - Malaysia's state oil firm Petroliam Nasional (Petronas) board of directors has given the green light for a US$16 billion (S$20.2 billion) refinery and petrochemical integrated development (Rapid), the company said in a statement on Thursday.

Located within the Pengerang Integrated Complex in the southern state of Johor, Rapid is poised to start refinery operations by early 2019.

Other associated facilities within the complex will also involve up to US$11 billion of investment, the company said.

Rapid, Malaysia's largest liquid-based green-field downstream development, was previously twice delayed due to issues with relocation of residents.

"Petronas undertook a rigorous review of the project, including independent third-party assessments to ensure it meets our criteria for long-term profitable and sustainable growth,"the firm's president and group CEO Shamsul Azhar Abbas said.

The Pengerang project is stretched across a 6,242-acre site and will consist of a 300,000 barrels-per-day refinery and a petrochemical complex. Construction will only begin after the state government hands over the project site to Petronas.

"We will continue to work closely with the federal and Johor state governments to ensure the project's smooth implementation," he added.

Petronas, which finances more than one third of Malaysia's government budget via dividends, posted a 45.4 per cent jump in fourth-quarter profit, as exploration efforts at home and abroad paid off with a boost in output.

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