Malaysia's PCG on track to start RAPID commercial ops in H2 ‘19

Source: ICIS News


SINGAPORE (ICIS)--PETRONAS Chemicals Group (PCG) is on track to start commercial production at its new Refinery and Petrochemical Integrated Development (RAPID) project in Johor, Malaysia, in the second half of 2019, the company’s chief executive said.

“The commercial production from the petrochemical complex will begin in the second half of 2019 beginning with the commercial production for polymers and glycol followed by production of INA [isononanol], ” PCG managing director and CEO Sazali Hamzah told ICIS.

The new polymer, glycol and INA units are currently being built within PETRONAS’ $27bn Pengerang Integrated Complex (PIC), which is comprised of the RAPID project, as well as six associated facilities.

The site's polymer capacities include 350,000 tonnes/year of linear low density polyethylene (LLDPE);  900,000 tonnes/year of polypropylene (PP); and 400,000 tonnes/year of high density polyethylene (HDPE).

The glycol plant will be able to produce 800,000 tonnes/year of monoethylene glycol (MEG), while the INA plant will have a 250,000 tonne/year capacity.

“As at end February 2018, the polymers and glycols project managed by PRPC Polymers is progressing at about 74% completion,” Sazali said.

PRPC Polymers is now a 50:50 joint venture between PCG and energy giant Saudi Aramco.

“Currently, trained operations personnel are being mobilised to our site in stages. The route-to-market activities for our products from PIC, including product trials and acceptance at customers’ facilities are currently ongoing,” Sazali said.

The INA project is at about 41% complete as of March this year, he said.

Upstream units at the complex in Johor, including the stream cracker to be operated by PETRONAS Refinery & Petrochemical Corporation (PRPC) is scheduled for start-up in the first quarter of 2019, with commercial operations due in the first half of the same year, according to Sazali.

The cracker is expected to produce 1.3m tonnes/year of ethylene; 609,000 tonnes/year of propylene; 250,000 tonnes/year of raffinate-1; and 185,000 tonnes/year of butadiene (BD).

The 300,000 bbl/day refinery being built at the site is also scheduled to start up early next year, according to PETRONAS’ website.

Preparation for RAPID’s commercial operations will “remain to be our focus” this year, Sazali said.

“In terms of our business activities, 2018 will be similar to 2017,” he said.

Last year, PCG posted a 42.5% increase in net profit to M$4.18bn, with sales up 25.6%.

“In general, a global economic recovery augurs well for PCG given that our business is very much driven by increasing consumer demand, especially in the ASEAN region,” Sazali said.

In China, the world’s second-biggest economy, domestic consumption has remained strong despite slowing GDP growth, he said.

“Couple this with the recently imposed tariff against US imports in chemicals, we believe PCG, with its new capacities coming on stream and expanded product offerings, is positively well-positioned,” the PCG chief said.

Interview article by Nurluqman Suratman