By Marcus Leach

Petronas, the Malaysian oil and gas company, in a move to expand its petrochemicals business and further spur the growth of Malaysia’s oil and gas downstream sector, plans to embark on a new integrated refinery and petrochemicals complex in Southern Johor.

The new development, to be known as RAPID (Refinery and Petrochemicals Integrated Development), was announced today by Prime Minister Dato’ Sri Mohd Najib Tun Abdul Razak at the Petronas Twin Towers.

Still at the detailed feasibility study stage, RAPID is estimated to cost about US$20 billion and will comprise a crude oil refinery with a 300,000 barrels per day capacity, a naphtha cracker that will produce about three million tonnes of ethylene, propylene, C4 and C5 olefins per year, and a petrochemicals and polymer complex that will produce differentiated and highly-specialised chemicals.

Greater in scale and scope than that of Petronas’ Melaka, Kertih and Gebeng complexes combined, the proposed development is expected to turn Southern Johor into another major petroleum and petrochemical centre in the region. The area has been identified because of its strategic location, being near deepwater port facilities, international shipping lanes and regional demand centres. The project is expected to be commissioned by the end of 2016.

“Looking ahead, RAPID is expected to attract significant investments from international companies within and further down the business value chain, underscoring our long-standing practice of forming mutually beneficial partnerships,” Petronas’ President and CEO Dato’ Shamsul Azhar Abbas said.

“We are proud to be involved in this new phase of nation-building to put Malaysia into a new frontier of technology and economic development."