Eyes on four billion Asia-Pacific population

By Wong Sai Wan and Kazi Mahmood
Scenic Rawang-Serendah bypass opens today

KUALA LUMPUR, March 27 — The four billion population of the Asia-Pacific region is the target of the Pengerang Integrated Complex project, which houses RAPID, said Petronas group executive vice president Md Arif Mahmood.

Saying that the construction of the project was progressing well at 60 per cent complete, Arif added that the region’s population will continue to grow and is rapidly joining the middle-class income group. 

“They will also need handphones and cars, so this is where the petrochemical plant will be a good pit-stop for a wide range of industries and products,” said Arif, who is also Petronas’s downstream chief executive officer. 

“This is why Aramco is interested in the RAPID project, and that is also because it is a growing region. They have the strategy to grow their downstream business. They used to be pretty much a crude supplier to the world.”  

PIC is Petronas’s largest investment in Malaysia, located in Pengerang, Johor, and forms part of Johor’s ambitious Pengerang Integrated Petroleum Complex. 

With an investment of about RM120 billion, the PIC project is designed to produce premium differentiated petrochemicals, meeting domestic demand for petroleum products and the government’s future legislative requirements on the implementation of Euro 5 fuel specifications.​

“The PIC is designed as a total petrochemical complex and it is one of a kind in the world,” Arif said.

“You have the power plant there, the re-gasing facilities, other utilities and water, and it is all integrated. 

“The whole idea is to make this more competitive. And we will also deploy the latest petrochemical technology in the complex. We can see the whole idea is to capture the growth of the region.”

On the initial protest by the local residents of Pengerang as it meant land acquisition, Aris said Petronas has done a lot to gain acceptance.

He said a cooperative involving the local people was set up within the PIC for a commercial fuel station that supplies the fuel to all the lorries involved in the project. 

The cooperative also supplies all sorts of products, and they even have a pasar malam, where the locals generate good sales, he said, adding that the project now had a working population of 40,000 people, about half of whom are Malaysians.

“Of this number (the Malaysians) 5,000 are local Pengerang people. Beyond creating jobs, we have ventured into education for some of the people in the area, upskilling them,” Arif said.