Petronas' Rapid project progresses as scheduled

KUALA LUMPUR, April 5 (Bernama) -- Petronas said today its proposed Refinery and Petrochemical Integrated Development (RAPID) project, to be located in Pengerang, Johor, is progressing as scheduled.

In a statement, Petronas said RAPID』s proposed refinery would have a capacity of 300,000 barrels per standard day and it would supply feedstock for RAPID's petrochemical complex as well as produce gasoline and diesel that meet European specifications.

The RAPID project aimed to capitalise on the growing need for speciality chemicals and to meet the demand for petroleum and commodity petrochemical products in the Asia Pacific region by 2016.

First announced by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak on May 13, 2011, the project has achieved several important milestones in the past few months.

Following the announcement, a detailed feasibility study on the proposed project was undertaken and completed in October 2011, it said.

The project has since progressed to a Front-End Engineering Design (FEED) stage, while at the same time Petronas is finalising the selection of potential partners and licensors for the various facilities within the project.

According to Petronas, the site topographical survey and soil investigation work had been completed, while the Environmental Impact Assessment Study (EIA) is currently being performed.

Recently, the national oil corporation signed a Heads of Agreement with BASF to jointly own, develop, construct and operate production facilities for specialty chemicals and plants for precursor materials within the RAPID complex.

These world-scale facilities would be undertaken on a 40:60 basis.

Progress has also been made in various other technical and commercial aspects of the proposed project for Petronas to reach its final investment decision (FID) in the middle of 2013, it said.

Except for pre-FID works, no other contracts have been tendered out or awarded, it noted.

Petronas also said it will begin pre-qualification exercises for various tender packages for the project in stages, the earliest of which was expected to be held in the third quarter of this year.

On the human resource side, it said preparation was being made to ensure the availability of qualified and trained personnel to work at the various plants and facilities within the complex.

RAPID's implementation has the potential of turning Southern Johor into a new refining and petrochemical centre in Malaysia, complementing the existing complexes in the country's eastern corridors.

It would also create multiple economic spin-offs and a new generation of oil and petrochemical professionals to drive the development of this sector further, in line with the government's aspirations to turn Malaysia into a leading petroleum industry hub in the region.