PETRONAS in talks with others for Malaysia specialty chems project

22 January 2013 04:46  [Source: ICIS news]

SINGAPORE (ICIS)--Malaysia’s state-owned energy firm PETRONAS is currently in talks with other firms to proceed with the development of a specialty chemicals project in Pengerang, Johor, after the pull-out of Germany’s BASF as a partner in the venture, a company spokesperson said on Tuesday.

“We are currently in discussions with other entities to further progress this project,” the PETRONAS spokesperson told ICIS.

BASF and PETRONAS announced on 21 January that they have mutually agreed to terminate the heads of agreement (HoA) on the project, which is expected to be part of the Malaysian firm’s $20bn Refinery & Petrochemical Integrated Development (RAPID) complex in Pengerang.

The specialty chemicals project is expected to include plants producing isononanol, highly reactive polyisobutylene, non-ionic surfactants, methanesulphonic acid and plants for precursor materials.

“We are not sure if the termination will have any impact on its investment decision,” HwangDBS Research of Malaysia said in a note.

PETRONAS is expected to make a final investment decision for the RAPID project by the middle of this year, it said.

“We believe that PETRONAS Chemicals Group, being the petrochemical arm of PETRONAS, would be the eventual owner and operator of the refineries and petrochemical plants in Pengerang. The RAPID project is expected to provide PCHEM’s next wave of earnings growth despite the relatively long term horizon,” it added.

Apart from the HoA with BASF, PETRONAS has signed HoAs with Italy’s Versalis to “jointly own, develop, construct and operate elastomer plants”, according to the PETRONAS spokesman.

The Malaysian energy firm has also signed similar deals on RAPID with Thailand’s PTT Global Chemical (PTTGC), and Japan’s Itochu.

PTTGC and Itochu are expected to “jointly own, develop, construct and operate two separate complexes for the production of high value-added downstream chemicals,” the PETRONAS spokesman said.

By: Nurluqman Suratman

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