Datuk Richard Wee

KUCHING: The Sarawak Petrochemical Hub (SPB) in Bintulu will propel Sarawak to become a major player in the oil and gas industry in the region.

Sarawak Federation of Chinese Associations (SFCA) president Datuk Richard Wee said he was optimistic and looking forward to it.

“Given our geographical advantage, the existing oil and gas downstream activities already being developed in Bintulu such as the ABF (Asean Bintulu Fertiliser), LNG (Liquefied Natural Gas) and the right downstream activities, the petrochemical hub would give Sarawak the edge over its competitors,” he added in an interview with New Sarawak Tribune yesterday (July 3).

He was asked to comment on the petrochemical hub to be developed in Tanjung Kidurong, Bintulu as announced by Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg last Thursday (July 2).

Currently, Wee said, there were two existing petrochemical facilities in Malaysia, namely, the Petronas Refinery and Petrochemical Integrated Development (RAPID) in Johor and Kreteh in Kedah.

Singapore also has one and everyone seems to flock to the country though it did not have the resources.

“And if we have one in Bintulu, it will definitely augur well for the petrochemical downstream activities in the state, especially as we have the resources, both offshore and onshore. It would be good to have that kind of facility close to the raw materials.

On the whole, Wee said, “If managed well, the petrochemical hub would place Sarawak in a better position than its counterparts in the region including Singapore in the oil and gas downstream activities”.

On the 74,000 new jobs expected to be created by the project, Wee said, If we looked at the experience, both in Kerteh and Rapid, it’s not just the number of jobs we are looking at.

“We are certainly also looking at the types of specialised skilled jobs that would be made available. These are high-value jobs such as chemical engineers, petrochemical engineers, to name a few”, he added.