FocusTaiwan’s Kuokuang to revive petchem project; eyes Malaysia site

14 May 2012 09:27  [Source: ICIS news]

By Nurluqman Suratman

Petronas Towers in MalaysiaSINGAPORE (ICIS)--Taiwan’s Kuokuang Petrochemical Technology is expected to revive its plan to build a massive integrated refinery and petrochemical project, with a strong likelihood that the complex will be sited in Malaysia, analysts said on Monday.

The company, which is 43%-owned by Taiwan’s state-controlled refiner CPC Corp, was earlier forced to shelve the project that was originally proposed to be located offshore Taiwan.

The decade-long proposal to build the project at Changhua County in Taiwan was met with strong opposition from environmentalists and local residents, prompting Taiwan President Ma Ying-jeou to withdraw his support for the project last year.

Kuokuang Petrochemical has identified Malaysia, or Zhangzhou in China’s Fujian province as potential sites for the project that would include a 300,000 bbl/day refinery and a 1.2m tonne/year cracker, said Danny Ho, an analyst with brokerage Yuanta Securities.

“While they [Kuokuang Petrochemical] have not made an official announcement, it is likely that they will choose Malaysia over China for the site of the new complex,” Ho said.

Kuokuang Petrochemical Technology and CPC Corp could not be immediately reached for comment.

Malaysia’s Prime Minister Najib Razak announced over the weekend that an undisclosed Taiwan-based petrochemicals firm has agreed to invest $10bn-12bn (€8bn-9bn) to build a new integrated complex in southern Johor, according to Malaysian newspapers.

The complex will complement Malaysian oil and gas major PETRONAS’ nearby refinery and petrochemical integrated development (RAPID) project in Pengerang, Johor, state-run news agency Bernama said.

PETRONAS’ RAPID project is expected to be commissioned by the end of 2016.

The undisclosed Taiwanese firm plans to build 150,000 bbl/day a refinery and an 800,000 tonne/year cracker, Bernama quoted Najib Razak as saying during the RAPID project launch event in Johor.

“It’s likely for the investment to take place in Malaysia and not here [Taiwan] because the Taiwan people are not keen for the petrochemical sector to expand further. They prefer solar or green energy instead,” said Aaron Liu, a Taipei-based analyst with KGI Securities.

“If they go to Malaysia we will be able to build the refinery and expand their downstream production. But it’s not entirely clear now as to how much they want to invest and Malaysia as they have not finalised anything,” Liu added.

($1 = €0.77)

Read John Richardson and Malini Hariharan’s blog – Asian Chemical Connections


By: Nurluqman Suratman



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