Sarawak’s RM20.8 bln game changer

Abang Johari (fourth right) and his delegation with Sinopec officials before touring the facility.

Lawas oil refinery project to boost state’s economy

KUCHING: The proposed USD5 billion (MR20.8 billion) oil refinery in Lawas will be a game changer for development in the northern region of Sarawak.

Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg said the oil refinery would also be a game changer in Sarawak’s economy as a whole when it is operational by 2022.

“The refinery complex should be completed by 2022 if the current negotiation and preparation proceed as scheduled,” he said during a briefing at the Sinopec oil refinery complex in Hainan, China yesterday.

Abang Johari is leading a delegation of state officials on a two-day fact-finding trip to the Sinopec oil refining facility located at the Yangpu Economic Development Zone in Northwestern Hainan Island.

Also in the delegation is Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hassan who is Second Minister of Urban Development and Resources as well as International Trade and Industry, Industrial Terminal and Entrepreneur Development Minister.

An official of Sinopec Engineering Incorporated which signed an MoU as a technology provider with the developer, Beijing BECA Sci-Tech Co. Ltd in June last year, said a feasibility study had now entered the phase of designing the processing unit of the facility sited on a 700-hectare area in the Sare peninsular in Lawas.

Abang Johari (fourth right) and his delegation with Sinopec officials before touring the facility.

The chief minister said the Sarawak government was serious in trying to ensure that the project would materialise as scheduled and would give the necessary support to facilitate its planning and construction.

“Our visit here is proof of our seriousness to ensure that the refinery will materialise as planned,” he said.

Abang Johari said the plant site had been identified and a deep-water port in Pulau Sare would ease entry and exit of large vessels in and out of the area.

During the briefing, Awang Tengah, who was invited to respond to issues raised, said the overall development of the area would include the construction of an airport to facilitate air travel in and out of the anticipated booming Lawas by then.

He gave assurance that electricity to Lawas would be connected to the main state grid by 2022, which was expected to require a total 380MW of power through the refinery and downstream activities.

“By then, power from the 1,300MW Balleh dam would come on stream on the state grid and power supply should not pose any problem.

“Sarawak government has approved a sum of RM380 million for improving various supporting infrastructural and utility facilities notably water supply in the area which came under the Northern Regional Development Agency (NRDA),” he said.

While noting that the oil refinery would require about 20MLD of water for its operation, he reassured that the upgrading of water supply in the area would take this requirement into consideration.

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