Refinery And Petrochemical Integrated Development

Refinery and Petrochemical Integrated Development is considered as the largest petrochemical complex project currently in the region of South East Asia. RAPID project is located in Pengerang, South Eastern of Johor state. As the main investor, PETRONAS proposed RM60 billion investment for RAPID project. The major production of RAPID is the crude oil refinery with refining capacity of 300,000 BSPD. The crude oil refinery will act as the spine of the project that will supply sufficient feedstock to the petrochemical complex. With conservative estimate, petrochemical complexes will produce an annual combined production of approximately 3 million tonnes of ethylene, propylene, C4 and C5 olefins. The beneficial condition had attracted few company to partner with PETRONAS in the RAPID project. At present, there are five(5) company which had signed an agreement with PETRONAS to jointly own, develop, construct and operate production facilities for a host of specialty chemical products within Petronas’ proposed RAPID project in Pengerang, Johor.

Those five(5) company are ITOCHU Corporation of Japan & PTT Global Chemical Public Company Limited, DIALOG, Italy-based Versalis SpA, and Evonik Industries AG. Initially, another German world leading chemical company, BASF, had signed the Head of Agreement (HoA) with PETRONAS. However, in 21 January 2013, PETRONAS announced that the Head of Agreement (HoA) between two parties for a jointly specialty chemicals venture within PETRONAS’ RAPID project in Pengerang, Johor, has been terminated by mutual agreement. Unfortunately, following negotiations, PETRONAS and BASF concluded that it would be in their mutual interest to terminate the HoA as both parties were unable to come to an agreement on the terms and conditions for the implementation of the proposed venture. After the news of termination of HoA between PETRONAS and BASF was released, another company had signed a Letter of Intent (LOI) with PETRONAS almost at the same time. Evonik Indutstries AG is fully interested to jointly embark on the development of production facilities of specialty chemicals within PETRONAS’ RAPID project in Pengerang, Johor.

Although there are only six(6) company which have signed agreement to be part into PETRONAS’ RAPID project, it is widely believed that more potential company are yet to join the PETRONAS’ RAPID project. Therefore, in this chapter, it mostly covers the background and licensors’ issue of those six(6) company. At the mean time, this chapter will also cover the difference of the development of production facilities of specialty chemicals among the company in different location. Besides that, it will make the comparison of two company in different petrochemical complex based on several aspects. Moreover, this chapter will include the proposed potential company that are feasibility for PETRONAS’ RAPID project. In addition, this chapter will also analyze the role playing and licensors’ issue of the latent company within PETRONAS’ RAPID project.

4.2 Role Playing and Licensor of Company in PETRONAS’ RAPID project


PETRONAS is considered as the major investor for RAPID project and will own, construct and operate the oil refinery plant and also naphtha cracker plant. PETRONAS, for being one of the leading oil and gas industrial company in the world, has full of experience in constructing and operating the oil refinery plant and also naphtha cracker plant. PETRONAS no doubt has the profession and technology to handle oil refinery plant which refining a capacity of 300,000 BSPD crude oil. PETRONAS has taken the license technology from the previous licensor, Exxon Mobil Research and Engineering (EMRE). Those 300,000 BSPD of crude oil will be refined and converted into different petroleum products, distributed and supplied to entire petrochemical plants within RAPID project.

Currently, RAPID project comprised construction work of few petrochemical plants such as hydrogen peroxide plant with a production capacity of 250,000 MTPA, a 220,000 MTPA isononanol plant, an 110,000 MTPA 1-butene plant and a 1,300MW gas-fired power plant. These are only part of the petrochemical plants within RAPID project. There are few investors have not made decision on the construction of petrochemical plants. The decision will be made later the third quarter of this year. On that time, we will know entire plan of RAPID project. However, we can define their move for RAPID project based on the profile of the company such as ITOCHU Corporation of Japan and PTT Global Chemical Public Company Limited.

4.2.2 ITOCHU Corporation of Japan & PTT Global Chemical Public Company Limited

Both ITOCHU Corporation of Japan and PTT Global Chemical Public Company Limited are the world leading chemical company in oil and gas industry. The Energy & Chemical company under ITOCHU Corporation consists of two divisions: the Energy Division and Chemical Division. The Energy Division facilitates the development and trade of bioethanol, focusing on developments in crude oil, natural gas, and other resources, and the supply chain where trade centres around the world originally operate. On the other side, the Chemical Division handles basic chemicals, synthetic resin, synthetic fibre raw materials, electronic materials, secondary battery-related materials and pharmaceutical products, among others. The company creates synergies in both of these globally operating divisions and have created an optimal value chain in petroleum, gas, and chemicals, in an effort to enrich the lives of people in the world. Another party, PTT Global Chemical Public Company Limited is the amalgamation of PTT Chemical Public Company Limited and PTT Aromatics and Refining Public Company Limited to be the chemical flagship of PTT Group. The integration results in reaching a total Olefins and Aromatics production capacity of 8.2 million tons per year and petroleum production capacity of 280,000 barrels per day, making it Thailand’s largest and Asia’s leading integrated petrochemical and refining company. PTT Global Chemical Public Company Limited is strengthened with its diversity of product in both Olefins and Aromatics line, which improves its competitive advantage as well as the ability to reduce risk inherent in the petrochemical industry.

On 18th May 2012, ITOCHU Corporation of Japan and PTT Global Chemical Public Company Limited (PTTCG) have signed the Head of Agreement (HoA) with PETRONAS for the development of PETRONAS’ RAPID project in Pengerang, Johor. Mr. Sirisaengtaksin, Chief Executive Officer of PTTGC, said

“Through this new collaboration, we hope to strengthen our ties and business synergies within the Southeast Asia Region and to also meet the demands of a rapidly growing ASEAN region’s population and AEC market growth”

“We hope also to further strengthen our alliance and look forward to a long and sustainable relationship with PETRONAS and ITOCHU far into the future through our collaboration in high value added chemicals to serve the automotive, construction and electronic industries.”

As mentioned previously, the proposed refinery will have a capacity of 300,000 barrels per standard day and will supply naphtha and liquid petroleum gas (LPG) feedstock for the RAPID petrochemical complex, as well as produce gasoline and diesel that meet European specifications. With such a large amount of crude oil supply, ITOCHU and PTT are able to produce various merchant grades petrochemicals products. In prior, we discuss about the development of ITOCHU Corporation in PETRONAS’ RAPID project. In fact, ITOCHU Corporation signed a separate Heads of Agreement with PETRONAS and PTT Global Chemical, an integrated refinery, petrochemical, and aromatic player, towards the development of the new project for a few petrochemical downstream projects within the Project RAPID. It is widely believed that the production facilities should be close to the chemical industrial area covered by ITOCHU previously. Therefore, we bravely concluded that ITOCHU Chemical Division will own, develop, construct and operate a petrochemical downstream project in PETRONAS’ RAPID project in Pengerang, Johor.

Generally, ITOCHU trades an extensive lineup of products, including basic chemicals, plastics, electronic materials, and pharmaceutical raw materials. ITOCHU has the higher opportunity to operate synthetic fibre production plant. The licensor of synthetic fibre production plant could be UOP Technology. UOP Technology provide the license of technology for ITOCHU and allow ITOCHU to use the particular technology to operate the synthetic fibre production plant. ITOCHU will demand the feedstock of synthetic fibre from PETRONAS’ oil refinery as there is sufficient capacity of up to 300,00 BSPD refining crude oil supply.

Similarity, as the collaboration partner, PTT Global Chemical Public Company Limited (PTTGC), collaborate with ITOCHU Corporation and PETRONAS, to own, develop, construct, and operate at least two petrochemical plants in RAPID project. The petrochemical plants are not specified yet until now. However, based on the speech of Mr. Sirisaengtaksin, Chief Executive Officer of PTTGC, it is widely believed that the production of specialty chemical is mostly high value added chemical to serve the automotive, construction, and electronic industries. The future plan announced by PTTGC mentions that there is $11 billion capex by year 2020. PETRONAS’ RAPID project is also included and considered as one of the significant project in the future plan. The final decision will be on the middle of this year. Nevertheless, we strongly believed PTTGC, associated with ITOCHU Corporation to operate olefins downstream production plant and aromatic plant. Generally, ethylene and propylene can produce polyethylene, polypropylene, HDPE, LDPE, and LLDPE. The capacity of these products is considered large in amount as there is sufficient olefins supply. Besides that, aromatic products such as benzene, toluene and mixed-xylene are also produced through the petrochemical plant as well to supply them as raw materials to generate the downstream industries such as polystyrene. Alongside the massive production of olefins, aromatics, and by-product produced, PETRONAS’ RAPID is expected to fulfil the requirement and massive demand of feedstock from South East Asia country and Asia country especially China. PETRONAS’ RAPID is expected to step out to become the major and leading raw material supplier within the region in South East Asia and even the entire Asia region.

PTTGC operates the aromatics plant and produces and distributes primary aromatics, namely benzene, paraxylene, orthoxylene, toluene, mixed xylenes, and cyclohexane (intermediate product) – as feedstock for intermediate and downstream industries. PTTGC runs two aromatics plants, it boast the technology of UOP, a world-renowned licensor known for constant upgrading. Both facilities allow feedstock and product exchange to optimize paraxylene and benzene production. PTTGC plans to produce a total of more than 2.05 million tons of aromatics with an 88% utilization rate and continuous process efficiency improvement which over the past few years record. Alongside the experience of operating the aromatic plant, PTTGC knows the efficiency improvement move and straightly apply into PETRONS’ RAPID project. The successive moves such as replacement of heat exchanger of the distillation tower to produce 25,000 tons per year of additional paraxylene and installation of pipeline system to the refinery to produce reformate to add value to excess sour naphtha from aromatics plant. PTTGC may apply the technologies into the aromatics plant in RAPID project and produces greater amount and quality of products. PTTGC may rise RAPID project become the leading petrochemical complex in Asia region.

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On the other sides, PTTGC Group obtains olefins (a collective name for ethylene and propylene) from PETRONAS’ naphtha cracker plant for intermediate and downstream petrochemical plants in the industrial estate, for HDPE, LDPE, and LLDPE plants within the Group, and for the ethylene oxide/ethylene glycol (EO/EG) plant, wholly owned by PTTGC. The Group produces and sells olefins by-products, namely mixed C4, pyrolysis gasoline, tail gas, cracker bottom, and hydrogen, to domestic and foreign customers. To supplement value to these, PTTGC will operate the butene-1 and butadiene project from mixed C4 with a combined capacity of about 100,000 tons per year. Today, the plant’s basic engineering design has been completed, with a start-up date in about the second quarter of 2014.

In addition, it is widely believed that PTTGC will owns, constructs and operates a 1,300MW gas-fired power plant within RAPID project. The gas-fired power plant supply power throughout the entire RAPID project. The feedstock used to generate the power plant is natural gas that obtained from the crude oil. In order to achieve green environment, the feedstock also can be obtained from the recycled natural gas from other petrochemical plant. This action has not only achieve green environment yet it helps to cut the cost of production.

4.2.3 Italy-based Versalis SpA

Italy-based Versalis SpA is the third petrochemical company to join PETRONAS’ RAPID project in Pengerang, Johor. On 17th July 2012, PETRONAS and Itay-based Versalis SpA have signed for Head of Agreement (HoA) to jointly own, develop, construct, and operate elastomer plant within PETRONAS’ RAPID project in Pengerang, Johor. Based on the report statement, under the terms of the HoA, the proposed joint venture will produce and market synthetic rubbers by using Versalis’ technology license and technology know-how. Versalis (formerly known as Polimeri Europa) is a petrochemical company and flagship company of Eni SpA, an Italian multinational oil and gas company. It handles the production and marketing of a wide portfolio of petrochemical products, using a range of proprietary technologies and state-of-the-art production systems and a wide-reaching and efficient distribution network.

Versalis provides its own technology of license and proves that Versalis has much confidence to the application of technology for the elastomer plant. For your information, the patent and proprietary technology portfolio ranges from basic products to polymers phenol and derivatives, polyethylene, styrenics and elastomers, but also catalysts, and special chemical products. Versalis contributes a lot of efforts to develop its own proprietary technology by using the direct experience earned at its research and development centre, its production plants, and also considering the feedbacks of the market towards its products. Throughout this approach, Versalis manages to optimize and strengthen the designing of the single devices and plants, of their performances, of the performances of the proprietary catalysts, of the characteristics of the products getting outstanding results in all the technologies of the company’s business areas. And this is the reason that Versalis intends to use its own technology license.

The elastomer technology used for the elastomer plant within PETRONAS’ RAPID project are: (1) emulsion polymerized styrene-butadiene rubber (e-SBR), (2) solution polymerized styrene-butadiene rubber (s-SBR), (3) SBS copolymers technology (SBS), (4) NBR butadiene-acrylonitrile rubbers technology (NBR), and (5) High Cis Polibutabiene rubber technology (HCBR – NEOCIS). These technology are mostly believed to be brought and applied into the elastomer plant with PETRONAS’ RAPID project in Pengerang Johor. The brief introduction of each technology is needed for more understanding.

Emulsion polymerized styrene-butadiene rubber is one of the most common used polymers in worldwide, used in a large variety of applications which significantly provide good quality of our life. The Versalis proprietary technology achieves wide-range of products which covers all e-SBR field of application like tires, footwears, light coloured and etc. Besides that, High Solids SBR Latices, whose main applications are in moulded foam, gel and non-gel carpet foam and stiffness enhancer Latices, are also leading product based on Versalis proprietary technology.

Other the other hand, solution polymerized styrene-butadiene rubber is the most suitable feedstock for highly specified tyre components used in the fabrication of high performance tyres, where the lowest fuel consumption and the highest durability are required. In order to maintain the quality of polymerized styrene-butadiene rubber, s-SBR proprietary technology has been developed as an alternative to emulsion technology to produce new product grades and also to significantly reduce some environmental impact of the emulsion technology.

Following by Versalis SBS technology, it is flexible in catering the different product grades required by the SBS market to meet new application requirements. Hence, the competitive production of the most common SBS grades and the additional SBS grades for special applications are allowed by Versalis SBS technology.

Besides that, NBR butadiene-acrylonitrile rubbers are copolymers of butadiene (BD) and acrylonitrile (AN) produced by initiation redox catalyst systems to an emulsion polymerisation reaction . The high resistance to oils over a wide temperature range is certainly one of most important feature of Nitrile Rubber. Furthermore, goods NBR-based are normally high strength and resistance to abrasion properties. Originally, Versalis used cold radicalic polymerization technology for NBR production and was then continuously improved and modified its own NBR butadiene-acrylonitrile rubbers production technology based on market requests and feedbacks to meet the safety regulation requirement.

At last, High Cis Polibutabiene rubber technology was first developed in the 80s, with the aim to produce rubber grades with specific properties in tyre sector as well as in other industrial applications. Typical High Cis Polibutabiene rubber plant consists of one reaction section, one finishing line and one packaging line.

Based on the technology development and experience taken in operation of elastomer plant, it is widely believed that Versalis will focus on the partnership alongside with excellent proven elastomer operation records and wealth of experience and expertise that would significantly contribute towards strengthening PETRONAS and Malaysia’s position as a key downstream petrochemical player in the South East Asia region or the entire Asia region.

4.2.4 Evonik Industries AG

PETRONAS is pleased to announce that a Letter of Intent (LOI) was signed with Evonik Industries AG to jointly engage on the development of production facilities of chemical specialty within PETRONAS’ RAPID project in Pengerang , Johor. On 13 January 2013, Evonik Industries AG officially signed the Letter of Intent (LOI) with PETRONAS and became the latest petrochemical company investing in RAPID project followed by ITOCHU Corporation, PTT Global Chemical Public Company Limited, and Italy-based Versalis SpA.

Evonik, the creative industrial group from Germany, is one of the world leaders in specialty chemicals. Evonik’s corporate strategy manages to maintain profitable growth and a sustained increase in the value of the company. Basically, its activities focus on the key megatrends health, nutrition, resource efficiency and globalization. Evonik benefits specifically from its innovative prowess and integrated technology platforms.

Under the LOI, Evonik Industries AG planned to form a partnership with PETRONAS to jointly own, develop, construct and operate facilities for the production of hydrogen peroxide, C4 co-monomer and oxo-products within RAPID project.. The proposed plants within RAPID project are expected to produce a capacity of 250,000 metric tons of hydrogen peroxide, 220,000 metric tons of isononanol (INA) and 110,000 metric tons of 1-butene annually. Furthermore, the hydrogen peroxide will be used to produce propylene oxide by the licensed, eco-friendly hydrogen peroxide to propylene oxide (HPPO) process. The licensed technology, HPPO process, was jointly developed by Evonik and ThyssenKrupp Uhde.

Evonik is one of the world’s largest producers of hydrogen peroxide and C4 based products with production facilities in Europe, North America, South America, New Zealand, Asia, South Africa and Indonesia. The worldwide capacity of hydrogen peroxide production is in excess of 600.000 tons per year. With more than 100 years of experience in peroxygen chemistry, Evonik is believed able to provide high quality products backed up by professional technical, engineering and sales support within PETRONAS’ RAPID project. The hydrogen peroxide plant is expected to boast an annual production capacity of 250,000 metric tons thus increasing the current overall hydrogen peroxide in worldwide. The group believes it is going to become the largest manufacturer of hydrogen peroxide. Today, hydrogen peroxide is widely used for various chemical industries. Therefore, it is a wise approach to operate hydrogen peroxide production plant within RAPID project.

Generally, hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) is an environmentally friendly chemical used for oxidation reactions, bleaching process in pulp, paper, and textile industries, various waste water and air treatment, and for various disinfection applications. Nevertheless, Evonik has decided to implement the HPPO process with its own technology licensing which is developed by Evonik and ThyssenKrupp Uhde within RAPID project. The innovative HPPO process allows the oxidant to be used to produce propylene oxide. The HPPO process benefits that it requires significantly less investment and allows a high degree of production efficiency. It is also an extremely eco-friendly process.

Besides that, oxo-products production plant such as isononanol (INA) production plant will be implemented within RAPID project by Evonik. Basically, isononanol (INA) is the most important raw material used for manufacturing large-volume of plasticizers. Plasticizers are chemical compounds that are used to make PVC materials to be flexible. The plastics become softer and more elastic and pliable for certain desired use. Plasticizers change the physical properties of the plastics without chemically react with the materials. As expected, Evonik plans to produce 220,000 metric tons of isononanol (INA) annually through the plant within RAPID project. This amount of capacity are believed sufficiently for demands throughout the South East Asia region. Most of the isononanol produced renders in the manufacture of DINP (di isononyl phthalate). The technology licensor for the isononanol (INA) production plant will be ThyssenKrupp Uhde. Uhde offers its first-class proprietary technology for the isononanol production plant within RAPID project. Similarly, the proprietary technology is developed based on research and production plants for many years. With this type of approach, the proprietary technology benefits that allows a high degree of efficiency with less investment requirement.

In addition, Evonik has confirmed to operate a capacity of 110,000 metric tons annually 1-butene production plant within RAPID project. Evonik uses its own proprietary technology to operate the 1-butene production plant. Basically, 1-butene is used mainly as a co-monomer for polyethylene (LLDPE, HDPE) or co-monomer for ethylene/propylene copolymers. The advantage of 1-butene is mainly to improve for the tear strength of the polymer. Moreover, it is also used as intermediate for the production of various products such as antioxidants, plasticizers, herbicides, corrosion inhibitors or additives to lubricating and hydraulic oils.

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Evonik Industries AG are focusing on RAPID project seriously as they implement three main petrochemical production plant within PETRONAS RAPID project in Pengerang, Johor. As the Member of the Executive Board of Evonik, Dr. Dahai Yu said,

“The entire project is set to mark another milestone in our growth strategy in the Asian market. This is why we’re seeking for a strong long-term strategic partner like PETRONAS.”

The partnership is expected to strengthen the PETRONAS position as the key downstream petrochemical player as well as to position Malaysia as the number one oil and gas hub in the Asia Pacific region by 2017. Throughout the collaboration, Evonik Industries AG further consolidates its position as one of the world largest producers of hydrogen peroxide and C4-based products.

4.3 The Comparison of RAPID Project and Kerteh and Gebeng Integrated Petrochemical Complex

4.3.1 Construction and Operation Area

Kerteh and Gebeng Integrated Petrochemical Complex is playing the significant role in the development of Malaysian petrochemical complexes of the east coast industrial corridor. Although isolated from the nation’s mainstream economic activities and politically distinctive, these former fishing villages have been transformed into Malaysia’s petrochemical industrial hub within a thirty years period. Similarly, RAPID project also transforms the fishing villages in Pengerang, Johor into another larger petrochemical industrial hub comparing to the one in east coast industrial corridor (ECIC). Currently, Kerteh and Gebeng Integrated Petrochemical Complex have become the leading role to multi-national petroleum, gas and chemical giants and are widely believed to have received highest concentration of foreign direct investment (FDI) in Malaysia. However, Upon target commissioning date in 2016, RAPID will become the largest petrochemical industrial hub within Asia Pacific Region.

Kerteh and Gebeng are two different locations but planned to become industrial townships within the east coast industrial corridor (ECIC) of Peninsula Malaysia. The two town are connected by a dedicated railway. In contrast, RAPID project is planned to constructed at only one town area without any connections from other places. The figure 5.3 and figure 5.4 illustrate the Integrated Petrochemical Complex at Gebeng and location plan of RAPID project. Currently KPIC covers over 2,800 acres of land, and is planned to expand to cover about 13,200 acres by the year 2010. In present, GPIC covers about 8900 acres and it is expected to expand to about 23,700 acres by the year 2008. Initially, as statement from DEIA report, RAPID project is planned to cover 6,242 acres of land in Pengerang. The land covered will be further under expansion to be larger than the combination of IPC in Kerteh and Gebeng and in Melaka on the commissioning date by 2016.

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4.3.2 Capacity of Crude Oil Refinery

In past, KIPC was only used as a crude oil channel, and as a liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) refinery. KIPC channels a capacity of 400,000 BSPD crude oil and 2,200 million cubic feet of LPG. Furthermore, KIPC also received some 250 million of LPG from Indonesia. Comparing to RAPID whereby RAPID is expected to have a refining capacity of 300,00 BSPD of crude oil. Upon target commissioning date in 2016, the country’s total refining capacity is to be increased to 935,300 barrels daily (bpd) from the current 635,300 bpd produced by the PETRONAS refineries in Kertih and Melaka. The refinery production of crude oil in RAPID project is illustrated in figure 4.5.

For petrochemical related products, the current production capacity from the PETRONAS complexes in Gebeng and Kerteh is around 2.6 million KMTPA and upon RAPID operation, there will be an increase in production capacity to 6.5 million (KMTPA). It proves that the production capacity of RAPID project is expected to be much greater than GIPC and KIPC.

Both Kerteh and Gebeng Integrated Petrochemical Complex and RAPID project have received high concentration of foreign direct investment (FDI) in Malaysia. Kerteh and Gebeng Integrated Petrochemical Complex have attracted foreign company to join partnership to own, develop, construct and operate petrochemical plants. In GIPC, the PETRONAS and its joint-venture plants, the Gebeng IPC is also host to a number of multinational chemical companies, such as Amoco Chemicals, which owns and operates a purified terephthalic acid plant, and Eastman Chemicals, which owns and operates a copolyester plastic resin plant. Figure 4.4 illustrates the major petrochemical plant and its production capacity.

The MTBE plant produces a capacity of 300,000 pta of MTBE and 80,000 pta of propylene. Besides that, propane dehydrogenation plant produces another capacity of 300,000 pta of propylene. The propylene production plant also add on produces 80,000 pta of propylene. In addition, the BPC Acrylics Complex produces four(4) various of chemical products which are 160,000 tpa Crude Acrylic Acid, 20,000 tpa Glacial Acrylic Acid, 100,000 tpa Butyl-Acrylate, 60,000 tpa 2-Ethyl Hexyl Acrylate. Furthermore, BPC Oxo-Alcohols and Syngas produces five(5) petrochemical products like 80,000 tpa 2-Ethyhexanol, 40,000 tpa Phthalic Anhydride, 100,000 tpa Plasticizers, 160,000 tpa Butanols, 170,000 tpa Syngas. For BPC Butanediol Complex, a capacity of 100,000 tpa Butanediol is produced through the complex.

PETRONAS’ Integrated Petrochemical Complex (IPC) located within the PETRONAS Petroleum Industry Complex (PPIC) in Kertih, Terengganu is an important link in our gas value chain. Receiving gas feedstock from the fields offshore Terengganu, the Kertih IPC principally consists of ethylene-based petrochemical plants. The plants located within this IPC include two ethylene crackers, a polyethylene plant, an ethylene oxide/ethylene glycol plant, a multi-unit derivatives plant, vinyl chloride monomer/PVC plants, ammonia/synthesis gas plants, an acetic acid plant, an aromatics complex and a low-density polyethylene plant. These plants are owned and operated mainly on a joint venture basis with various foreign partners with the advanced technology and experience, financial strength and market access to add value to the business. Figure 4.4 illustrates the major petrochemical plant and its production capacity. The ethylene plant produces a capacity of 400,000 pta of ethylene. Besides that, polyethylene plant produces capacity of 200,000 pta of polyethylene and 55,000 pta of pipe compounding. The vinyl chloride monomer production plant also produces 400,000 pta of vinyl chloride monomer. In addition, the Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) plant produces a capacity of 160,000 tpa PVC, Furthermore, Amonia and Syngas plant produces 450,000 tpa ammonia and 325,000 tpa Syngas. For acetic acid plant, a capacity of 400,000 tpa acetic acid is produced through the plant. The aromatics plant produces capacity production of 500,000 tpa Paraxylene and 188,000 tpa Benzene. Olefins (Second Cracker ) mainly produces 600,000 tpa Ethylene and 95,000 tpa Propylene for downstream production. Ethylene Oxide and Ethylene Glycol production plant produce capacity of 140,000 tpa Ethylene Oxide and 385,000 tpa Ethylene Glycols respectively. Ethylene Derivatives production plant produces five(5) petrochemical products such as 30,000 tpa Ethoxylates, 75,000 tpa Ethanolamines, 60,000 tpa Glycol Ethers, 140,000 tpa Butanol and 50,000 tpa Butyl Acetate to contributes for downstream production uses. The Low Density Polyethylen production plant produces a capacity of 255,000 tpa LDPE. For RAPID project, the capacity of production plants is clearly figured out in previous chapter. Therefore, for the information regarding the capacity of production within RAPID project, you are advised to refer the previous chapter.

4.4 The Comparison of RAPID Project and Titan Petrochemical Complex in Pasir Gudang

4.4.1 Location and Construction and Operation Area

Titan petrochemical complex is owned and operated by Titan Chemical Group currently with the name of Lotte Chemical Titan Holdings Sdn. Bhd. Titan petrochemical complex constructed its first facility in Malaysia, a RM300 million polypropylene plant in year 1989. Within 20 years, Titan has successfully owned, developed, constructed and operated a total of ten integrated process facilities in Pasir Gudang and in Tanjung Langsat. The Titan petrochemical complex in Pasir Gudang has only area of 222 acres which is much smaller than PETRONAS RAPID project in Pengerang. Titan petrochemical complex largest integrated olefins and polyolefins producer in Malaysia and the second largest polyolefins producer in south east Asia in terms of capacity. However, soon or later, the leading position will be replaced by PETRONAS RAPID project. Figure 4.6 illustrates the Titan petrochemical complex.

4.4.2 Capacity of Crude Oil Refinery

In fact, Titan petrochemical complex do not have any crude oil refinery unit. The crude oil is transferred to Titan petrochemical complex via pipeline which connected with the oil refinery unit in Sarawak and Indonesia. In contrast, RAPID have its own oil refinery unit which able to refine a total capacity of 300,000 barrels per day. In this case, RAPID project is possible to be an alternate way for Titan petrochemical complex to fulfil its demands since the delivery distance is much closer.

4.4.3 Petrochemical Plant and Its Production Capacity

Titan Petrochemical complex includes two naphtha cracker which provides feedstock for its own production of polyethylene, polypropylene and aromatics. The crackers can produce large capacity of ethylene and propylene. In year 1999, a new cracker unit is constructed to boost the capacity of the petrochemical complex in Pasir Gudang up to 560,000 tpy ethylene and 280,000 tpy propylene, driving up its economic scale. Figure 4.7 illustrates the new naphtha cracker in Titan petroleum complex.

The other major olefins plants are operated by the Titan Group and these plants make use of naphtha or LPG as feedstock, which can be imported via the large Johor port. This ethylene plant was part of a larger expansion program, encompassing several polyolefin units. Most of the ethylene product is feed for Titan’s polyethylene (PE) and polypropylene (PP) plants. Remaining ethylene goes to the merchant market. The PP plants take all of the propylene. The new aromatics (BTX) complex, commissioned in January 2000, takes the pyrolysis gasoline from these naphtha crackers.

Besides that, Titan Petrochemical Complex has included a 200,000 tpy swing HDPE and LLDPE plant, a 200,000 tpy LDPE plant., two PP plants which produce PP homopolymers and PP copolymers. They have a combined capacity of 330,000 tpy of PP. The HDPE and LDPE plant uses Union Carbide Corp.’s Unipol gas-phase, low pressure PE process technology. Titan petrochemical complex also included a BTX plant that produces 108,000 tpy of benzene and 60,000 tpy of toluene and various support facilities, such as cogeneration power plants, tank farms, and warehouses. The production process of the BTX plant begins when partially hydrogenated pyrolysis gasoline is piped to a splitter to remove mixed xylenes. BASF AG’s Selop-F C5+ process hydrogenates the resultant product. The extractive distillation section uses Krupp Uhde’s Morphylane process, to extract benzene and toluene.

In fact, The development of Titan petrochemical complex consists of two phases. n Phase I, Titan developed the first naphtha and LPG cracker, the swing HDPE and LLDPE plant, and the first PP plant on a 33-hectare site. This initial development cost about $661 million (1.65 billion Ringgit). The company has naphtha supply contracts with Saudi Arabian Oil Co., Shell International Eastern Trading Corp, Kuwait Petroleum Corp., and Marubeni International Petroleum (Singapore) Pte. Ltd.


Nevertheless, Phase II, initiated in late 1996 and mostly completed by early 2000, more than doubled the size and capacity of Titan’s petrochemical complex. It expanded the complex beyond the Pasir Gudang Industrial Estate onto a 40-hectare site in the nearby Tanjung Langsat Industrial Estate. At the cost of RM3.2 million, Titan owned, developed, constructed and operated the second cracker, which has a capacity of 330,000 tpy of ethylene and 165,000 tpy of propylene. Titan chose to use two main process technologies by Stone & Webster Inc.: Ultra Selective Cracking (UCS) for the pyrolysis and quench systems and Advanced Recovery System (ARS) for cold fractionation. The second PP plant with a capacity of 200,000 tpy, as well as a new 100,000 tpy HDPE plant were constructed in phase II. Mitsui Engineering & Shipbuilding Co. Ltd. constructed the new LDPE plant using ExxonMobil Chemical Co.’s high-pressure tubular PE technology. Both PP plants in phase I and II use Montell’s Spheripol PP process because Spheripol uses a high-yield, high-stereo-specific catalyst in a two-stage polymerization system. In phase II, Titan also owned and operated two new cogeneration power plants, which produce electricity and steam for petrochemical complexes at both Pasir Gudang and Tanjung Langsat Industrial Estates.

4.4 The Comparison of RAPID Project and Petrochemical Complex in Melaka

4.4.1 Melaka Refinery Complex

The Melaka Refinery is an integral component of PETRONAS’ strategy of integration and adding value through its downstream operations in crude oil refining, base oil production, lubricant blending and marketing, increasing the value of each barrel of crude oil to the nation. THE 926-acre Melaka Refinery Complex was constructed to meet Malaysia’s growing needs for refined petroleum products and began operations in 1994 as PETRONAS’ second refinery, the first being the Kertih refinery in Terengganu. The Melaka Refinery’s maximum demonstrated production rate of 265,000 barrels per day (bpd) is larger than that of PETRONAS’ Kertih refinery and larger than the Shell and Esso refineries in Port Dickson. With this production capacity, the Melaka Refinery supplies about 30 per cent of Malaysia’s petroleum product needs, exemplifying the importance of the Melaka Refinery to the nation. As a complex refinery able to ‘crack’ heavier oil, the operations of the PETRONAS Second Refinery 2 (PSR-2) enables the Melaka Refinery to refine heavier imported crude. This provides PETRONAS with greater flexibility in sourcing crude oil. The Melaka Group III base oil plant (MG3) is the newest addition to the Melaka Refinery. Coming onstream in 2008 with a production capacity of 6,500 bpd, the MG3 plant isone of only 10 such plants in the world. Built to produce toptier Group III base oils, the MG3 was the final building block to make the Melaka Refinery a fully-integrated refinery complex. PETRONAS Group III base oils are marketed by PETRONAS Base Oil (M) Sdn Bhd under the brand name ETRO to leading lube makers worldwide. The Melaka Refinery is an indispensable link in the Malaysian oil and gas industry. By supplying 30 per cent of the nation’s petroleum product needs, and with the capacity to supply up to 42 per cent should the occasion arise, the Melaka Refinery is the primary refinery in Malaysia. As such, it stands at the forefront of energy security for the nation. The Melaka Refinery also plays an integral role in adding value to the nation’s oil resources. Through its refining activities, lube blending and now base oil production, each barrel of oil that passes through the Melaka Refinery is substantially increased in value. When considering that a

single barrel of crude oil can be increased in value several

hundred per cent when it is refined into fully synthetic

lubricant, the value-add of the Melaka Refinery becomes

apparent. The revenue to the nation has increased significantly

through the value-add from crude oil processing activities.



5.1 Feasibility of PETRONAS’ RAPID project

On 13th May 2012, Sultan Johor officially launched the PETRONAS’ Refinery and Petrochemical Integrated Development (RAPID) project. The project is proposed to be constructed in Pengerang Johor. PETRONAS’ RAPID project is widely believed that it has started a new chapter of petrochemical industries in Malaysia. The RM120 billion project has come up a big issue and attracted the sight of petrochemical company from oversea. PETRONAS has successfully sealed the deal by signing the Head of agreement with few company such as ITOCHU Corporation, PTT Global Chemical Public Company Limited, Italy-based Versalis SpA and Evonik Industries AG. BASF was included among the partnership company but has pulled out at the early year of 2013 with mutual agreement. Currently, the joint venture company of RAPID project are considered as the world leading petrochemical company in various aspects of petrochemical industries. This statement has proven that the potential of RAPID project to become the world-class petrochemical complex.

However, a lot of question marks are still existed within PETRONAS’ RAPID project in Pengerang, Johor. The technical, environmental and economic issues are highlighted and to be concerned all the time. Many people will question for the feasibility of PETRONAS’ RAPID project. Throughout the case study of RAPID project, I would able to conclude PETRONAS’ RAPID project and reply the questions in term of technical areas. Apart of environmental and economic issues, PETRONAS’ RAPID project is expected to contribute many resources within Malaysia and overseas. The partnership is firm to strengthen the leading position of PETRONAS in the downstream petrochemical industries in Asia region. As you know, the joint ventures have full of experience and expert in particular aspect. Furthermore, they will offer the most advanced technology for the operation of petrochemical plant within RAPID project. Therefore, there is nothing we can worry about the lack of technical profession in operation of petrochemical plant. For example, Evonik implements its own proprietary technology so called HPPO process to produce propylene oxide from hydrogen peroxide. This technology is developed over decades based on the researches, operation of plant in term of performance and feedbacks from the products. They will further expertise the technology in order to meet the desired requirements within RAPID project. In addition, the technical support and safety support are also professional and specialise in case of operation error. PETRONAS collaborates with other parties cover all the requirements and offer the best quality of service and technology within RAPID project. Therefore, RAPID project is absolutely feasible to be implemented in Pengerang, Johor.

Besides that, RAPID project is considered as one of the largest petrochemical project in South East Asia. It provides about 4000 permanent job opportunities. This will help to raise the level of knowledge and capability of local companies in the fields of engineering, procurement and technical installation. Furthermore, this is a golden chance for local oil and gas companies to expand their structures. The multinational companies also able to create more opportunities for the sector. RAPID project highly demands a competent and skilled workforce in the country. In fact, most of the major engineering companies are lacking of right talent for their organization. The demand for highly skilled profession creates the shortage of competent local engineer who are fit for the position.

In the past, Malaysia was facing the brain drain issue and it was not completely settled until today. The oil and gas industry talents are always lured by the other countries. RAPID project. This has causes the shortage of experienced engineers. For every engineering industry, likewise RAPID project, it prefers the engineers are competent when join the industry and able to fit into new working environment fast. Besides the requirement of advanced technology, RAPID also requires the best talents to make Malaysia as the first oil and gas hub in the Asia Pacific region. Despite some local graduates are not competent enough, it is widely believed that the multinational company should have their own training programme to strengthen the human capital development in Malaysia. Other than this, based on the statement made from Ir. Mohd. Jamin bin Mohd. Isa, President of the Association of Malaysian Oil and Gas Engineering Consultants (MOGEC), MOGEC is also currently developing a human capital development programme together with MPRC. This programme will be linked with local universities to introduce more attracting internship programme. Throughout this programme, we can expose young talents, especially the final year undergraduate student at university to the industrial field. Due to the shortage of experienced local engineer, we are eager to implement the programme to speed up the learning curve of the young local engineers so as to be competent and to be on par with foreign experienced engineers when they are working within RAPID project. The local engineers should gain the benefit from the knowledge and technology of foreign companies.

Another issue appears as the local newcomer oil and gas firm or small company may face the problem when dealing with foreign company whereby it will not happen on other large local company. However, only if the local company has solid foundation in certain field, it should not have any big obstacles. Therefore, we can say that PETRONAS’ RAPID project in Pengerang, Johor is definitely feasible and practicable. The collaboration of local company and foreign company forms a complementary partnership within RAPID project to strengthen the feasibility of RAPID project. Currently, RAPID project creates over 4000 permanent job positions. By 2016, the completed RAPID project may creates even more than the figures. This may further solve the shortage of engineering job position in Malaysia. Besides that, RAPID project is a significant oil and gas project to lead Malaysia to become number one oil and gas hub in Asia Pacific region. The development of RAPID project cannot be sloppy. It requires the collaboration of top-skilled oil and gas engineering firms from overseas and local oil and gas company to make RAPID project successful completed and start operation by 2016. It also requires the experienced and specialized local engineers to meet the demands of foreign company. Therefore, human capital development programme is generated. In this case, we can say that RAPID project contributes the great opportunity and effort to improve level and quality of local engineers and of engineering company who able to compete and work with foreign company within RAPID project. We can conclude that PETRONAS’ RAPID project is feasible and practicable and benefits the most for Malaysia’s future.

5.2 Recommendation

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