Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Demand From China, India And Asia Pacific To Continue For Petronas Chemical Group products

Petronas Chemicals Group Bhd (PCG), the leading integrated petrochemicals producer in Malaysia, is expected to see continued demand for its products from China, India and the Asia Pacific.

PCG produces a diversified range of petrochemical products from its olefins and derivatives segment as well as fertilisers and methanol.

In a research note today, OSK Research said PCG's utilisation rate for both segments stood at 86 per cent and 82 per cent respectively, for the fourth quarter of financial year 2011.

Thus, it added, the PCG management is targeting for the utilisation rate of its plants to hit 90 per cent.

OSK said in addition, PCG also expects the feasibility study on its Refinery and Petrochemical Integrated Development Project to be completed by year-end.

The research house has maintained a "buy" call on PCG's stocks at RM9.28. -- Bernama

Monday, 30 May 2011

Government expects 40pc of total investment from oil and gas

The government has projected the oil and gas sector to continue supplying over 40 per cent of total investments until 2020.

Minister of International Trade and Industry Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed said today that the sector is projected to invest at least two-fifths of the RM1.33 trillion targeted under the Economic Transformation Programme (ETP).

“Oil and gas has been contributing about 42 per cent each year, so it is on track,” he told reporters.

The ETP, launched by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak in September 2010, plans to push the country to reach developed nation status by 2020.

This will include raising per capita income from US$6,700 (RM20,400) per year to US$15,000 and total gross national income to US$523 billion.

Putrajaya has set an annual target of six per cent economic growth to achieve this target.

Mustapa also said today that total investment for 2011 was RM83 billion, with an average of RM115 billion per year targeted for the next five years.

Gulf Petroleum signs deals for RM17b hub

Qatar-based Gulf Petroleum (M) Sdn Bhd (GPLM) has signed agreements with consortium groups from China, Hong Kong and India to jointly develop its RM17 billion integrated oil and gas complex in Port Dickson.

Marmagoa Steel Ltd and Rukmani Finance Pte Ltd, which are led by India-based businessman Ashok Mittal, have formed a consortium with a local partner - Extrarich Marine Sdn Bhd.

Together, this consortium will undertake the financing, construction and supply of steel to build storage facility at the complex.

China-based telecom solutions provider Huawei Technologies has also come onboard to participate in the development of the complex. The group will cover the information technology and telecommunication aspects of the plant.

Meanwhile, Hong Kong-based Oriental Air Energy Investment Corp Ltd will undertake the financing and construction of the power supply requirements of the complex by utilising patented green air-powered technology.

GPLM managing director Nor Azmi Abdullah said the group has received official proposals from 35 countries worldwide interested to participate in the setting up of the complex. They include banking groups, government-linked investment companies and oil and gas companies.

"We will have more partnerships like the ones signed today. We are carefully studying the proposals at this stage," he said during a media briefing yesterday.

Construction of the complex would begin once the company has finalised outstanding regulatory issue with the authorities. "We hope to start construction by second quarter next year," he said.

The complex, targeted to be fully completed by 2015, is located at Port Dickson on a 607.5ha of land. It would include a refinery, petrochemical plant and storage facilities and would be able to produce about 150,000 barrels of oil per day.

The complex was intended to be GPLM's regional hub for its activities in Asia Pacific. The company had earlier secured crude oil supply among consortium members and has finalised initial agreements on products off-take arrangement with several countries within Asean and in Asia Pacific.

Sunday, 29 May 2011

Sale of fabrication yards marks Sime’s exit from oil & gas

A year after suffering massive losses from its oil and gas division, Sime Darby Bhd has taken a decision to exit this business by hiving off its two fabrication yards for RM695mil in cash.

Sime Darby has inked two non-binding memoranda of understanding to sell its Teluk Ramunia fabrication yard to Petronas Nasional Bhd for RM296mil and its Pasir Gudang fabrication yard to Malaysia Marine and Heavy Engineering Holdings Bhd (MHB) for RM399mil.

Sime Darby said the disposals followed a recent “portfolio review” and that for the oil and gas division to move up the value chain and enjoy better returns, “the group would need to further commit its financial resources into a business which is no longer in line with the group's strategic decision.”

Sime Darby also said the RM695mil price tag was above the RM641mil book value of the said assets.

Explaining the rationale for move, Sime Darby's president and group chief executive Datuk Mohd Bakke Salleh told StarBizWeek: “There are too many variables in this business. You need to depend on the clients' specifications, you have to get your costing right and there are continuous contract management issues. Do we have really have all this expertise?

“Furthermore there is a lot of reliance on third parties or sub-contractors. We don't want to take on jobs with this type of risk profile. This is a business where the likelihood of losing money is very probable.”

Bakke...‘We don’t want to take on jobs with this type of risk profile. This is a business where the likelihood of losing money is very probably.’

The yards make up the main assets in Sime Darby's oil and gas unit, held under Sime Darby Engineering Sdn Bhd, a unit under Sime Darby's troubled energy and utilities (E&U) division. In FY2010, the E&U division posted RM1.75bil in operating losses, mainly due to cost overruns in its Qatar oil and gas projects.

Interestingly, Petronas' subsidiary, MISC Bhd (itself the parent of MHB) had in 2008 proposed injecting the then unlisted MHB into Ramunia in a reverse takeover of the latter. However, talks fell through and subsequently, Ramunia's fabrication yard was sold to Sime Darby, which is now selling the same yard to Petronas.

Sime Darby had paid RM550mil for Teluk Ramunia, including debts it assumed. It is now receiving about RM250mil less from selling the same yard to Petronas.

Bakke, who was not running Sime Darby when the Ramunia yard was acquired in May 2009, explained that circumstances were different then: “The business direction of Sime Darby was very much on international expansion then. It got a shot in the arm when it was awarded the Qatar projects, hence Teluk Ramunia was acquired to be utilised to undertake big jobs, both internationally and locally.”

Now however, things have changed. “With (oil and gas) fabrication jobs, one can end up losing whatever cash one has and all the resources built up over the years. This is certainly an industry we should not be in. If we can't be a market leader, then we shouldn't be part of it,” he said.

As part of the terms of the sale, MHB will offer employment to all Sime Darby employees in connection with the fabrication yard business on terms to be mutually agreed and that Sime Darby will continue to perform and complete its obligations in respect of its existing contracts.

Meanwhile, CIMB Investment Bank Bhd analyst Ivy Ng said in a report yesterday that the offer price for its sale of its fabrication yards was fair.

“The price tag for the Ramunia yard appears low, at a 47% discount to what Sime Darby paid in 2009. But the group is getting a higher price of RM3.07mil per acre for the smaller Pasir Gudang yard,” Ng wrote, adding the offer price is at 1.08 times book value.

Ng added that potential profits from Sime Darby's existing oil and gas projects “could add another RM86mil to the price consideration, raising the valuation to 1.2 times book value, in line with the value we used for the assets in our sum-of-parts computations.”

Ng also wrote: “We are positive on the group's plan to sell its oil and gas assets as it will remove concerns over potential losses from this division and allows the group to focus on its core businesses.”

Saturday, 28 May 2011

Wah Seong tipped for LNG pipe coating job

Wah Seong Corp Bhd is close to bagging a pipe coating job relating to the Australia Pacific liquefied natural gas (APLNG) project.

The company is said to be the front runner in the tender for the APLNG onshore concrete pipe coating contract valued at about RM122 million (US$40 million), sources said, adding that the project is expected to be given out in the next one to two months.

The entire APLNG project involves the development of the coal seam gas resources in the Surat and Bowen Basins over a 30-year period, a multi-train LNG facility on Curtis Island near Gladstone, Queensland, Australia, and a 450km transmission pipeline.

The project owner, Australia Pacific LNG Pte Ltd (APL), is a joint venture between Australian energy giant Origin Energy Ltd and American multinational energy corporation, ConocoPhillips Co.

In late April, APL sealed a deal with state-owned China Petrochemical Corp (Sinopec) for the supply of about 4.3 million tonnes of LNG per year over a 20-year period. The deal entails APL exporting LNG from its gas resources and proposed LNG facility in Queensland to Sinopec’s yet to be constructed Guangxi receiving terminal and other LNG import and gasification terminals in China.

Sinopec’s majority-owned subsidiary, China Petroleum and Chemical Corp Ltd, will take up 15% equity interest in APL, thereby reducing Origin Energy and ConocoPhillips’ ownership in the joint venture company to 42.5% each.

APL is scheduled to export its first LNG cargo in 2015 to Asian markets. The facility’s first two trains have an annual processing capacity of up to nine million tonnes.

MIDF Research expects pipe coating jobs from APLNG to sustain Wah Seong’s near-term earnings on top of its other jobs in Australia. Indeed, Wah Seong’s endeavours in Australia appear to have borne fruit, with its 1QFY11 ended March 31 results lifted by the higher margin RM550 million Gorgon pipe coating project.

Wah Seong’s 1QFY11 net profit more than doubled to RM43.4 million from RM17 million a year ago, beating analysts’ expectations. Pre-tax profit jumped 78.5% year-on-year to RM68.7 million while revenue grew 19.8% to RM490.9 million.

Wah Seong’s pipeline services division continued to be the main earnings driver in 1Q, contributing RM191.7 million or almost 40% of group revenue.

“Wah Seong’s relationship with Chevron in the Gorgon project may help it garner the Wheatstone LNG project, which is to be developed by Chevron as well,” MIDF Research said in a recent report.

Wah Seong expects to reap the benefits from increased investment activities by oil majors, spurred by continued global demand for oil and gas and the current price of crude oil.

Its tender book currently stands at about RM5 billion with over half for overseas pipe coating works, analysts said.

In the longer term, OSK Research said Wah Seong’s recent joint venture with Nasdaq-listed Insituform Technologies Inc would open the door for the company to penetrate the US, Brazil and Gulf of Mexico markets.

For domestic jobs, analysts said Wah Seong is in good shape for a chunk of pipe coating contracts from the Kebabangan northern hub development project off the coast of Sabah.

The Kebabangan petroleum operating company had recently awarded a RM1.15 billion topside contract to Sime Darby Bhd and a RM208 million substructure contract to Kencana Petroleum Bhd.

KNM wins US$72m contract in Uzbekistan

KNM Group Bhd won the bid for a US$71.63 million (RM217.8 million) contract for the development of a documentation and equipment supply facility “booster compressor station” at the Khauzak site in the Republic of Uzbekistan.

The job was secured from Lukoil Uzbekistan Operating Co for a duration of 24 months from the date of commencement of contract and subject to contract signing.

KNM also announced that it recorded a lower net profit of RM19 million for 1QFY11 ended March 31, versus RM40.3 million previously. This was due to a lower tax writeback during the quarter.

Nonetheless, revenue for 1Q rose 10.6% y-o-y to RM413 million while operating profit also increased to RM16.8 million from RM11.3 million a year ago. The group attributed the better operating performance to higher revenue recognised and better margins.

Friday, 27 May 2011

Sime Engineering sells fabrication yards for RM695m

Sime Darby Engineering Sdn Bhd is selling its two fabrication yards for a total of RM695 million, which was above the RM641 million book value of the assets as at 31 March 2011.

It said on Friday, March 27 it was selling its Teluk Ramunia fabrication yard to Petroliam Nasional Bhd for RM296 million cash.

It was also selling its Pasir Gudang fabrication yard to Malaysia Marine and Heavy Engineering Holdings Bhd (MMHE) for RM399 million cash.

“The decision to dispose of the assets was made following the completion of the group’s portfolio review exercise,” it said.

Petroleum: Mahkamah Rayuan tolak, Kelantan rayu

Mahkamah Rayuan hari ini menolak rayuan Kerajaan Negeri Kelantan berhubung keputusan Mahkamah Tinggi membenarkan kerajaan persekutuan menjadi pencelah dalam samannya ke atas Petronas berhubung royalti minyak.

Keputusan itu dibuat Hakim Low Hup Beng setelah mendengar penghujahan daripada peguam yang mewakili kedua-dua pihak.

Kerajaan Kelantan diwakili peguam Tommy Thomas.

Exco Kerajaan Kelantan, Datuk Paduka Husam Musa berkata, beliau meminta Tommy memfailkan rayuan ke Mahkamah Persekutuan berhubung keputusan itu.

"Saya telah minta peguam kita untuk memfailkan rayuan ke Mahkamah Persekutuan di atas kedua-dua keputusan tadi," kata beliau kepada pemberita di luar kamar mahkamah selepas mendengar keputusan berkenaan.

Menurutnya, Kelantan tetap berpendapat bahawa Kerajaan Persekutuan tidak perlu campur tangan dalam kes ini kerana tidak memberi sebarang impak kepada mereka.

"Kes ini sebenarnya begitu simple. Jika kerajaan Kelantan menang dalam kes ini, lima peratus bahagian (royalti) Kerajaan Pusat tidak akan berkurangan.

"Kalau Kerajaan Kelantan ditakdirkan kalah dalam kes ini bahagian lima peratus Kerajaan Pusat tak bertambah. Jadi tidak ada apa-apa kesan negatif dan positif kepada Kerajaan Pusat.

"Dan kerana itulah kita masih berpendapat bahawa Kerajaan Pusat tidak perlu campur tangan dalam kes ini kerana kes ini adalah kontrak antara Kerajaan Kelantan dengan Petronas," katanya yang juga ahli jawatankuasa PAS Pusat.

Tambahnya Kelantan berharap agar rayuan di Mahkamah Persekutuan nanti akan diterima.

"Kita berharap Mahkamah Persekutuan mempertimbangkan dan memberi keputusan sebaliknya daripada apa yang diputuskan hari ini," katanya.

Rayuan di Mahkamah Persekutuan boleh dibuat dalam masa 30 hari daripada hari ini.

Sementara itu Mahkamah Rayuan hari ini turut menolak satu lagi rayuan oleh kerajaan negeri berhubung keputusan Mahkamah Tinggi yang tidak membenarkan permohonan bagi kes saman itu dipindahkan semula ke Mahkamah Komersial Baru (NCC).

Kerajaan negeri mahu kes itu dipindahkan semula memandangkan saman berkenaan pada mulanya difailkan di NCC, tetapi kini akan didengar di Mahkamah Sivil Baru (NCvC).

Pada 30 Ogos tahun lalu, kerajaan Kelantan memfailkan saman terhadap Petronas di Mahkamah Tinggi Kuala Lumpur kerana mendakwa syarikat petroleum nasional itu tidak membayar royalti yang dianggarkan RM800 juta setahun sejak 2005.

Menurut kerajaan negeri, tindakan Petronas itu bukan sahaja melanggar undang-undang sedia ada, tetapi juga bercanggah dengan Perlembagaan Persekutuan.

Dalam pernyataan tuntutannya, kerajaan negeri antara lain memohon perintah untuk mendesak Petronas supaya mendedahkan kesemua fakta berkaitan pembayaran tunai yang patut dibayar kepada Kelantan.

Ia termasuk tempoh petroleum dikeluarkan, dijumpai atau diperoleh di pesisir Kelantan; kawasan atau blok tempat petroleum dijumpai dan diperoleh; dan jumlah keseluruhan pembayaran tunai yang patut dibayar kepada Kelantan.

Kerajaan negeri turut mendesak agar semua pembayaran tunai tertunggak yang ditetapkan oleh mahkamah mesti dibayar dalam tempoh satu bulan daripada perintah mahkamah dikeluarkan.

Thursday, 26 May 2011

BASF Increases Chinese, Malaysian Capacity as Asian Demand Rises

BASF SE (BAS) Deputy Chief Executive Officer Martin Brudermueller said the chemical industry will draw most of its growth from Asia in coming years, underscoring the role of emerging markets for the German company.

BASF, which won approval in March for a plant in Chongqing in the west of China, expects global chemical demand to expand by 1.1 trillion euros ($1.5 trillion) until 2020, with Asia accounting for 700 billion euros of that amount, Brudermueller said in a Bloomberg TV interview in Hong Kong, where he has been based for five years.

BASF and joint venture partner China Petroleum & Chemical Corp., known as Sinopec, are expanding a flagship Asian Verbund site in Nanjing, China, where the companies will have 30 integrated factories, Brudermueller said. The Ludwigshafen, Germany-based chemical maker is also expanding its production in Kuantan, Malaysia, he said.

The company said this month it’s on course to double sales in the Asia-Pacific region by 2020, based on revenue of 9 billion euros in 2008.

“It’s exactly the right moment to emphasize how important Asia Pacific is for the growth of BASF,” Brudermueller said. “There are a lot of big investments out here, a lot of opportunities that need to be shaped. And I think it’s important to stay out here.”

The factory in Chongqing, expected to start operations in 2014, will produce diphenylmethane diisocyanate, or MDI, used in polymers for coatings and adhesives. BASF invested 860 million euros in the site, which is wholly owned by the German company, Brudermueller said.

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Shell allots $1.1B for Malampaya development project

The Shell Group of Companies in the Philippines, the local arm of Royal Dutch Shell Plc., has programmed $1.1 billion in funds development the next phase of the Malampaya gas project, chairman Edgar Chua told reporters.

In an interview, the Shell official made it clear that the budget will be spent over the next three years to fund development works for the second phase of Malampaya.

This amount is on top of the planned investments for its downstream or retail business. Chua said his company usually spend P2 billion to P3 billion every year.

Chua noted that the annual budget for its downstream business covers expenses in maintaining the storage facilities, upgrade or improve the refinery facility as well as to put up or refurbish retail stations.

For the refinery, Chua said they continue to pour in investments in reliability.

In another development, Chua said they are also interested in helping the Government in setting the needed infrastructure for the import of liquefied natural gas into the country.

“We are interested in seeing how we can participate in the LNG program of the government, and we have always been looking at coming in with potential local partners, if we [decide to] participate,” Chua said.

For an LNG infrastructure, he added that facilities and pipelines must be imported and a power plant needs to be built. “So for us, our interest is primarily on supplying the LNG or import facility and the other needed infrastructure, particularly the regasification units and its pipeline as well,” Chua said.

Energy Secretary Jose Rene Almendras earlier said the department expects to bid out liquefied natural gas projects (LNG) it has laid down by early next year.

Almendras said the technical feasibility studies for LNG facilities of the Japan International Cooperation Agency for Luzon and of the World Bank for Mindanao are expected to be finished by September.

The World Bank, in particular, wants a study that will determine the volume or capacity of LNG facilities that can be put up in Mindanao.

Upon completion of the master plan, Almendras said it will take them three months to prepare the terms of reference for the LNG projects to be bid out to investors. “We really hope to bid out it by early next year,” he said.

As it is, Almendras said there are a lot of interested investors and it’s good to have a lot of interested investors for competition.

Almendras declined to name the investors but said the investors are American, European, Italian and Japanese companies interested to put up the pipeline that will

Almendras quickly admitted though that China’s recent signing for a huge LNG contract with Australia bother him a bit.

“I hope there will be left on our plate, though I’m also confident that there still is something left for us as there is still a lot of LNG suppliers. But of course, pricing will be affected,” he said.

Almendras said LNG prices have recently gone up because of Japan. The Japanese are building 600 megawatts of LNG generation facilities, which is expected to come on stream in the next two to three months.

Almendras earlier said the government is set to bid out the Batangas-Manila gas pipeline (Batman 1) project and the LNG regasification and receiving facilities.

The proposed 100-km Batman 1 pipeline, initially estimated to cost around $100 million, is supposed to run from the Malampaya gas project in Batangas to Sucat, Paraéaque but government now wants it to run up to Quirino using “road right of ways.”

“The pipeline would cost half a billion dollars, the regasification and receiving units would probably cost around $700 million to $800 million. We will bid it out. We’re going to get the best possible deal for the government,” he said.

Almendras pointed out that the Philippine National Oil Co. can form a joint venture with the winning bidder because it owns the franchise for the pipeline.

“As far as the receiving and regasification facilities are concerned, it’s going to be done through Public-Private Partnership, which has already attracted a number of groups already,” Almendras said.

Monday, 23 May 2011

Gas subsidy review long overdue

A long-overdue review of the heavily subsidised natural gas price is crucial as demand for cheap gas in Malaysia is far outstripping supply.

Analysts said that if this market-distorting situation is not corrected by the government soon, then Malaysia will run out of gas reserves which will jeopardise future generations.

As it is now, the government continues to subsidise gas by as much as 71-77 per cent, which means lost opportunities for the country and the economy not being cost efficient.

This is because the billions of ringgit used to heavily subsidise gas could have been used for socio-economic development projects such as public amenities, roads, schools and other services.

For gas alone, Petronas paid out a massive amount of subsidies amounting to RM131.3 billion between 1997 and 2010.

This being the case, there is a need to gradually move gas prices to reflect international market prices as gas prices in Malaysia are among the cheapest in the region and cheaper compared with alternative fuels.

As a result, a large number of consumers have shifted their consumption of energy from other fuels such as diesel, liquefied petroleum gas and fuel oil to natural gas. This has resulted in an imbalance with demand outstripping supply at a rapid pace.

There is also a misconception among the people that Malaysia has lots of gas reserves to be used for power when the actual situation is that there is real concern over gas reserves as they are finite.

Malaysia is now getting 36 per cent of its natural gas supply outside Malaysia at a higher price which continues to increase, but sold to the power and non-power sectors and industries at highly reduced prices.

These price distortions to the economy which are taking a toll on the country’s finances needs to be rectified soon by rationalising and reducing subsidies as the situation is increasingly untenable.

The local supply of natural gas is insufficient as demand has escalated 400 per cent over the past 10 years from 2000 for customers using less than 2.0 million standard cubic feet per day (mmscfd) and about 160 per cent for customers using more than 2.0 mmscfd while the country's gas reserves are fast depleting at an annual rate of 12 per cent.

The last gas price revision by the government was in March 2009, at a discount of 50 per cent, the prices ranged from RM15.35 per million British thermal units (mmBtu) to RM10.70 per mmBtu, with the obligation to review every six months but that did not happen.

Since the last revision, the price of medium fuel oil (MFO), a reference index from which gas is priced on, had risen over 100 per cent.

This has led the government to bear the cost of heavier subsidies as the price of energy continues to increase in global markets.

On the local scene, the power sector which has been subsidised since 1997, consumes about 55 per cent of the gas needs and a large part of the balance by the industry which had been subsidised since 2002.

The government has subsidised the price of gas to the power sector by as much as 77 per cent or RM10.70 per mmBtu and that to the industries at an average 73 per cent or between RM15.35 to RM11.05.

Based on a simple calculation, for every RM10, the government will have to subsidise between RM7.70 to RM7.30, which is already a burden, bearing in mind the fact that imported gas is bought at international market prices.

The Malaysian public and industries have been enjoying the benefits of subsidies for so long but the world scenario has changed and the days of cheap energy are gone.

From another perspective, Malaysia was subsidising the cost of products of other countries manufactured by their multinational companies based here.

The government will now have to adapt to strategies it knows best to sustain the economy and Malaysians must learn to accept changes and ride the global economic storm to be at the forefront of the competition.

Like it or not, oil and gas prices have increased and the subsidies which have become a burden to the government are very much due for a relook.

Industries have benefitted immensely enjoying double subsidies in the form of cheap gas and subsidised electricity, while receiving other government incentives.

Having relied on cheap gas for their production, there is no incentive for companies to adopt and adapt to new technologies and find new ways to become efficient.

But a gradual removal of subsidies is expected to induce industries to seek more efficient technologies for their processes.

It is understood that some of the industry players do not mind the market rates but expect any move towards that end to be undertaken in a gradual manner.

Since 1997, the government had spent RM131 billion in oil and gas subsidies and the amount is increasing since the gas usage gets bigger while higher MFO prices had caused the situation to be not sustainable in the long run.

As of now, Malaysia is getting supply of natural gas from the Natuna field in Indonesia, the Malaysia-Thailand Joint Development Area (JDA) and also from Vietnam.

Malaysia’s share of gas supply from Vietnam is almost exhausted, which means an additional burden on the government to look for new sources.

It is understood that Petronas would also be importing liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) by 2012 to cater to increasing demand, which is rather costly at about RM40 per mmBtu.

The people have to dispel the misconception that gas is always there and readily available. In reality, Malaysia is a small player and the country's oil and gas reserves are small.

If gas continues to be subsidised, then Malaysia is not optimising its resources when the reserves should be kept for future generations.

Ideally, the price of gas should be at market rates which would then attract other potential companies to import gas and liberalise the market.

By spurring the gas trade, players could import cheaper gas from abroad compared to the current situation, where players are not willing to come onboard as they would not be making any money competing against subsidised gas.

It is understood that Petronas will have its regasification plant ready by 2012 whereby other companies could import LNG and regasify to sell to the industries.

Malaysia, eventually, will attract investors who can add higher value to the gas industry and generate greater income and spur the economy in the process.

Sunday, 22 May 2011

Gas subsidy cuts to strengthen PTG by allowing Petronas to import more gas

Petronas Gas Bhd (PTG) is expected to be the indirect beneficiary of gas subsidy cuts given that it would make it more palatable for Petronas to import liquefied natural gas (LNG) via PTG’s terminal for transmission around Peninsular Malaysia.

“While PTG does not directly benefit from lower gas subsidies or higher gas prices, the potential cut in gas subsidies next week does mean that the Government is resuming its subsidy review programme which should eventually see gas subsidies cut completely within some five to seven years,” said OSK Research Sdn Bhd (OSK Research) in a research note yesterday.

The research firm expected the increase in Petronas’s gas share price of 2.3 per cent over the last two days higher than average volume to be attributed by tPetronas Refinery and Petrochemical Integrated Development (Rapid) project in Pengerang, Johore and rumours of a cut in gas subsidies in June.

With regards to the Rapid project, Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak indicated that there could be another LNG regasification terminal in Pengerang in addition to the three million tonne per annum terminal in Melaka. With the due diligence to be completed by year end, construction could begin in 2012 with completion by 2014.

“Assuming it would be another three million tonne plant, this could add a further 500 million standard cubic feet per day (mmscfd) of gas available for PTG to transport in addition to the 2890mmscfd that would already be available then or a 17 per cent increase in gas volume,” OSK Research further added.

Analysts noted that in addition to more Gas Transportation revenues, PTG would likely be able to book in Regasification revenues for ownership of the LNG terminal.

“We have introduced the financial year 2011 (FY11) accumulated forecasts which are for the nine month financial year between April till December 2011 due to a change in Petronas’ financial year.”

Analysts had raised slightly their gas volumes going forward given indication that Petronas would max out the 500mmscfd capacity of the Melaka LNG terminal.

OSK Research raised its terminal value in calculating PTG’s discounted cash flow value from 2.3 per cent to 2.5 per cent given that there were more potential LNG terminals at Pengerang and elsewhere.

This raised OSK Research’s fair value of PTG to RM13.82 from the current price of RM13.56. - Borneo Post

Saturday, 21 May 2011

200 protest Lynas plant at Australian embassy

Protesters march from KLCC after Friday prayers to hand a memo to the embassy against the plant Protesters converged on the Australian high commission today as opponents of the on-going Lynas Advanced Material Plant (Lamp) project pile on the pressure against having a rare earth processing plant in Gebeng, Pahang.

NONEThis is the second such protest held in Kuala Lumpur since the first- held during the last Parliament meeting in March - barely two weeks before an international expert panel will spend six days here to scrutinise the project's safety aspects.

Some 200 people, made up of Kuantan residents, NGO representatives and members of PAS and PKR youth wings, gathered on the road some 50m from the high commission building just after Friday prayers at about 2pm, forming a tight group as around 100 police officers kept a watchful eye.

NONEFRU officers formed human barriers at the junction turning into Jalan Yap Kwan Seng, where the high commission office is located, but otherwise allowed the protesters to go about their business.

With chants of “Stop Lynas!” and “Kami bukan tikus makmal! (We are not lab rats!)”, the protesters cheered on a delegation of six as they went in to the high commission to present a memorandum on the Lynas controversy to the Australian government.

The memorandum, addressed to the Australian high commissioner to Malaysia, urged the Australian government to do all it can to make sure Malaysians are safe from the threat of potential radiation poisoning.

“We are not convinced by the assurances of Lamp, (and others allied to their cause), that the Lamp is safe. If it truly were so, surely then your country should readily keep that industry within its borders, or at the very least be prepared to take back the waste (which contains the deadly thorium).

“But your country has flatly refused to take back their own waste,” the memorandum read.

No guarantee of safety

Save Malaysia, Stop Lynas committee spokesperson Vincent Jiam, who was in the delegation, later said that the residents in Kuantan - just 20 minutes from Gebeng where the plant is being built - are outright opposed to the project.

NONE“On moral grounds, Lynas is taking advantage of our outdated environmental law. Because of the loophole in the law, it is easy for Lynas to bring in the ore from other places.

“We cannot control it... the ore will come not only from Australia by that time (the plant is operational). Who can stand there, count and check every packet (of ore)?

“We don't want the industry to start at all, regardless of whether it is safe or not safe. We don't want it because there is no guarantee (of safety),” he said, adding that they give Lynas till Aug 31 to pack up and leave.

Rare earth industry 'disastrous'

Kuantan MP Fuziah Salleh echoed Jiam's concerns, questioning the moral fibre of Lynas' leadership in exploiting Malaysia's lax environmental protection.

“This industry is associated with much disaster. Nobody in the world wants to have it. Lynas said they got a licence in Australia, but why don't they do it there?

“I studied the matter and found that the requirements were too strict... in Australia you cannot have residents anywhere close-by. In Gebeng, you have 700,000 residents in a 35km radius (around the plant),” said Fuziah, who was also in the delegation.

The Lynas rare earth plant is expected to be completed by this September, despite facing public outrage over claims that its operations will produce radioactive waste that are potentially harmful to the public.

The Australian mining company and the Malaysian government have repeatedly assured that the plant will be safe and will not be a public hazard.

Growing public anger over the project however forced the government to moot the formation of an international expert panel formed by the International Atomic Energy Agency, which is expected to furnish the government with a report on the plant's safety by the end of June.

Thursday, 19 May 2011

'Johor govt welcomes Taiwan to dump factory'

Bakri member of parliament has rapped the Johor state government for its acceptance of a Taiwan-based petrochemical company previously rejected in its home turf over environmental concerns.

"The question is whether the Preliminary Environmental Impact Assessment (PEIA) methodology of our country has lower standards than Taiwan's to the extent that our authorities can accept the project with open arms,” said Er Teck Hua.

Er said that the Taiwanese media had reported that Kuo Kuang Petrochemical would build a factory in Johor following Taiwan president Ma Ying Jeou's refusal to allow it build such a factory there following fears of environmental pollution.

“Before we take a decision whether to support or oppose the investment from Kuo Kuang Petrochemical, we must raise the question on why the Taiwan government itself rejected the plan to build the petrochemical factory in their own soil?" stated Er.

He said a petrochemical factory was known to release dangerous toxics such as dioxin, sulfide and other chemical toxics which can harm the environment and the human’s health.

"Petrochemical industry involves a lot of energy resources, water and the release of nitrogen dioxide which is very high in content,” he added.

Referring to a study by Professor Zhuang Bing Jie from the Environment Engineering Department of National Chung Hsing University, Taiwan, Er said it revealed that the risk of cancer had shot up due to petrochemical plants.

“His research revealed that about 339 to 565 people have died from heart problems, lung cancer and citing an increase in repository diseases,” he said.

Er (left) pointed out that Taiwan's media reported that the Malaysian government was "very keen" to take on the rejected project.

He said a report had quoted International Trade and Industry deputy minister Mukhriz Mahathir as welcoming Kuo Kuang to invest in the country to build oil refineries and naphtha cracking.

“He also said that the (Malaysian) government was ready to offer a conducive environment and fulfil the requirement for the petrochemical industry,” Er said.

He said Pasir Gudang and Pontian local councils had reportedly approved the project despite having no formal application, as claimed by International Trade and Industry Minister Mustapa Mohamed.

According to Er, Taiwan premier Wu Den Yih had on April 23 said he did not rule out the possibility for the industry to be moved to Malaysia.

While Er said petrochemical industry would bring profit, technology transfer and job opportunities, he warned that Malaysia might need to pay the cost of environmental destruction and the health hazards on its citizens.

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

KPOC announces devt plans for Kebabangan gas field

Kebabangan Petroleum Operating Company Sdn Bhd (KPOC) has announced that its shareholders have agreed to develop the Kebabangan (KBB) gas field located offshore Sabah.

KPOC is a joint operating company comprising Petronas Carigali Sdn Bhd (Petronas Carigali) with a 40 per cent stakeholding, together with ConocoPhillips Sabah Gas Ltd (ConocoPhillips) and Shell Energy Asia Ltd (Shell Energy Asia); that each has a stakeholding composition of 30 per cent in the venture.

“The KBB gas field is located in water depths of 100 to 400 metres and is part of the KBB Cluster Production Sharing Contract operated by KPOC. The project will include a 12-well, two-phase drilling campaign as well as the fabrication and installation of an integrated drilling/production platform with living quarters,” KPOC said in a press statement yesterday.

The integrated production platform would be located on the edge of the continental shelf in 140 metres of water, with a design rate of 825 million standard cubic feet per day of gas export capacity, and 80,000 stock tank barrels per day of oil export capacity. Oil and gas would be exported via 135 kilometres of pipelines to the Petronas Carigali – operated Sabah Oil and Gas Terminal (SOGT); currently under construction at Kimanis, Sabah.

“First production is expected at the end of 2014,” added KPOC.

Meanwhile, KPOC’s general manager Kannan Annamalai was enthusiastic on reaching such milestone saying, “The real journey with all its challenges has just begun. Our team is committed to delivering market leading performance in all aspects of the project with relentless focus on safety, quality, cost and schedule,” he remarked.

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Samsung, Saipem picked for EPC work on Indonesia's Cepu block

US oil major ExxonMobil has picked South Korea's Samsung and Italian construction company Saipem to carry out engineering, procurement and construction work on the Cepu block in East Java, Indonesia, a senior official at Indonesia's upstream regulator, BPMigas, said Tuesday.

The contracts are expected to be inked early May, BPMigas vice chairman Hardiono told Platts.

ExxonMobil could not be reached for comment.

According to Hardiono, Samsung and Saipem will be awarded two of five EPC contracts for the Cepu project. The remaining three contracts will be awarded by May, he said, adding that work on all the contracts should begin by the end of May and be completed by December 2013.

The Samsung-led consortium, which also includes Indonesia's Tripatra Engineering, will be awarded a $750 million contract to build key facilities such as storage tanks and a compressor unit. The Saipem-led consortium will be awarded a $114 million contract to build a pipeline linking the Banyu Urip oil discovery in the block to the northern coast of East Java, and a single buoy mooring facility.

The Cepu oil project took a long time to get off the ground because of protracted negotiations between Indonesia's state-owned Pertamina and ExxonMobil over issues like equity split and operatorship of the block.

The two signed a production sharing contract in September 2005, four years after the block's surprise major oil discovery at Banyu Urip in 2001. Pertamina and ExxonMobil took a 45% stake each in the block, with the local governments sharing the remaining 10% equity.

However, the project has had a rocky start, unable to maximize the 20,000 b/d design capacity of the initial production facilities since it came on stream in December 2008, because of technical problems and issues with evacuating the crude.

Cepu produced an average 18,500 b/d in 2010, according to figures from Indonesia's upstream regulator BPMigas.

The Cepu oil project is estimated to produce 165,000 b/d of crude oil at its peak, according to estimates by ExxonMobil, but this hinges on the award of the EPC contracts to build the necessary infrastructure at the block.

The EPC contracts are for field production and processing facilities, onshore and offshore oil pipelines to the northern coast of East Java, a single buoy mooring facility, and a floating storage and offloading vessel.

ExxonMobil and Pertamina were earlier expected to have awarded the contracts by January this year.

The Cepu block is estimated to contain about 600 million barrels of oil and 1.7 Tcf of gas. Banyu Urip is estimated to contain more than 250 million barrels of oil.

ExxonMobil said Monday that a second oil discovery, named Kedung Keris, was made at the block. The Kedung Keris-1 discovery well was drilled on land to a total depth of 7,032 feet (2,143 meters). The well, which is located approximately 9 miles (14 kilometers) from Banyu Urip, encountered an oil column of 561 feet in the target carbonate zone, it added.

The Kedung Keris-1 well data will be analyzed over the coming months to evaluate the full resource potential of the reservoir, the company said.

Monday, 16 May 2011

Kencana proposes to buy AME for RM400m

Kencana Petroleum Group has proposed to acquire 100% equity interest in Allied Marine and Equipment Sdn Bhd (AME) for RM400mil in its move to become a fully-integrated oil and gas (O&G) player.

Kencana, in its filing with Bursa Malaysia yesterday, said it had executed a conditional sale-and-purchase agreement for the proposed acquisition where it would be satisfied via share swap. Kencana would issue 149.2 million new ordinary shares of 10 sen each in Kencana at an issue price of RM2.68 per share.

The vendors of AME are Worldclass Inspiration Sdn Bhd and Allied Asset Holdings Sdn Bhd.

AME is involved the provision of offshore diving and underwater-related services for inspection, repair and maintenance of structures, pipelines and risers and for the construction of underwater facilities for the O&G industry.

According to Kencana, the proposed acquisition would open the door to gain exposure to a rapidly-growing offshore subsea business in Malaysia and South-East Asia.

“It would provide an opportunity to leverage on AME's customers and to cross-sell services across clients of both group of companies i.e. Kencana Petroleum Group and AME Group.

“Additionally, it will enable Kencana Petroleum Group to recognise in full the earnings stream and cash flows that is expected to be generated by AME and is expected to expand Kencana recurring revenues with higher margins being earned.

“There are also potential cost synergies for Kencana Petroleum Group with the possibility of AME group providing services to Kencana in-house subsea services requirements apart from savings on general and administration overheads,” it said.

For the past three years, apart from Malaysia, AME had also undertaken various projects for multinational oil and gas players in Indonesia, Vietnam, China and India.

The vendors guaranteed to Kencana Petroleum that AME's audited consolidated profit after tax for each of the financial years ending Sept 30, 2011 and Sept 30, 2012 shall not be less than RM40 million.

Sunday, 15 May 2011

Keppel wins US$772m orders for four rigs

Singapore's Keppel Corp said today its unit has got four repeat orders from Oslo-listed S.D. Standard Drilling Plc for jackup oil rigs worth US$772 million (RM2.316 billion).

The deliveries of these units are scheduled between second half of 2013 and first half of 2014, it said in a statement.

The four new orders from Standard Drilling have brought the total value of contracts secured by Keppel Offshore & Marine for the year-to-date to more than S$6.4 billion (US$5.1 billion). — Reuters

Dialog denies bagging Petronas oilfield job

Dialog Group Bhd said it was still bidding with potential Australian partner Roc Oil Co Ltd for contracts pertaining to Petroliam Nasional Bhd's (Petronas) marginal oilfield developments.

The company told Bursa Malaysia yesterday that Roc Oil was its business partner and was presently tendering for upstream oil and gas prospects in Malaysia with the possibility of a joint venture between the two companies if the tender was successful.

“To date, Dialog and Roc Oil are still in the bidding process and have not entered into a joint-venture agreement and neither parties have received any letter of intent for marginal oilfield projects from Petronas,” it said.

The company was responding to a business daily report citing sources that both parties were on the verge of bagging marginal oilfield projects under the risk-service contract (RSC) model from Petronas for Balai and Bentara, located off the coast of Sarawak.

It was reported by other international publications that the parties had received a letter of intent for the cluster development of the two fields which involved four wellhead platforms plus a floating storage offloading or a floating production, storage and off-loading vessel.

Maybank Investment Research said in a report yesterday that if the RSC materialised, it would mark Roc Oil's Malaysian debut and Dialog's first upstream oil and gas venture.

“Bentara is located in Block SK-6, previously operated by Occidental Petroleum, while Balai is near to Bentara. Bentara discovery well flowed 1,200 barrels per day of oil and 9.8 mmscfd (million standard cubic feet per day) of gas during a well test,” it said.

The brokerage added that it was positive on the development and reckoned that Dialog would provide mercury extraction/handling services for these fields.

To re-cap, the first RSC was awarded by Petronas in February to a consortium formed by Kencana Petroleum Bhd and SapuraCrest Petroleum Bhd, together with Petrofac Energy Developments Sdn Bhd, for the development and production of Berantai marginal oil field, located 150km offshore Terengganu.

The US$800mil RSC to be handled by the three partners is for a nine-year period starting Jan 31. The project is targeting its first gas by the end of this year, with the first development phase of 18 wells expected to be completed by end-2012.

Saturday, 14 May 2011

IAEA names Lynas refinery review panel

The UN’s International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) today unveiled the team that will conduct an evaluation of the controversial RM700 million rare earths refinery in Gebeng, Pahang — a review necessitated by mounting opposition from surrounding residents and environmentalist groups.

Malaysia had earlier asked the Vienna-based agency for assistance in addressing public concerns about the project by forming a panel to review radiation health and safety factors.

The panel will be headed by Dr Tero Varjoranta, the IAEA’s director of the Nuclear Fuel Cycle and Waste Technology at its Nuclear Energy department.

Other members of the panel include Dr Magnus Vesterlind, Dr Horst Monken Fernandes, and Hanna Kajander — all of whom are attached to the nuclear agency.

Asides from its own personnel, the IAEA panel will also include outside experts Jan van der Steen, Dr Leo M. Lowe, Dr PM Balagopala Pillai, Dr Dennis Wymer and Ulric Schwela.

The multinational panel was announced today by Minister of International Trade and Industry Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed, who also pledged that the government will reveal the panel’s finding in its entirety upon completion.

The review was initiated by the government to alleviate growing public pressure to scrap the Lynas Corp plant as environmental activists say it could make Malaysia a dumping ground for radioactive by-products from the refining process, creating health risks.

Lynas has said it does not foresee problems with the month-long review and expects to be able to keep its scheduled September opening of its facility.

Public health concerns over the Lynas plant were exacerbated by Malaysia’s previous dalliance with rare earth minerals in Bukit Merah, Perak.

The Asian Rare Earth (ARE) plant in Perak has been linked to birth defects and at least eight cases of leukaemia in the past five years, seven of which were fatal.

Nearly 20 years after it was shuttered, the plant is still the subject of a massive RM300 million cleanup exercise.

Lynas’s Gebeng plant was supposed to process rare earth concentrate shipped in from the firm’s Mount Weld site in western Australia.

Rare earths are crucial to production of high-tech goods from fibre optic cables to smartphones and electric cars.

Company officials have said annual output from the Malaysian plant would hit 22,000 tonnes, meeting roughly a third of total global demand outside China by 2013.

Pertamina Said to Consider Swapping Natuna for Angola Oil Stake

PT Pertamina may swap its share in Indonesia’s biggest gas field to help fund a bid for Exxon Mobil Corp. (XOM)’s stake in an Angola oil block, an official at the Jakarta-based energy company said.

Pertamina is the preferred bidder for Exxon’s 25 percent share and is in talks with Cnooc Ltd. (883) on a possible joint bid to help fund the deal, said the official who declined to be identified as the negotiations are private. The Indonesian national oil company may swap its stake in the East Natuna field with Exxon as part of the transaction, and had sent a team to Beijing last week for talks with Cnooc, the person said.

Indonesia, Southeast Asia’s largest economy, is seeking overseas oil assets after a drop in domestic production led to its exit from OPEC in 2008. Pertamina bid about $3.5 billion for Exxon’s stake, the Wall Street Journal reported yesterday, citing a person with knowledge of the matter.

“We’re continuing talks to jointly develop oil blocks abroad, including cooperation with Cnooc in Angola,” Mochamad Harun, vice president for corporate communications at Pertamina, said by telephone from Jakarta, declining to specify the value of the bid. “We’re also talking with national oil companies for joint development of oil blocks abroad.”

Jiang Yongzhi, the Beijing-based spokesman at Cnooc, declined to comment when asked if the company is in talks with Pertamina on a possible joint bid in Angola.

Biggest Acquisition

The purchase of Exxon’s stake in the Angolan block would eclipse PT Berlian Laju Tanker’s $850 million purchase of Chembulk Tankers in 2007 as the largest overseas acquisition by an Indonesian company.

“It’s a good strategy by Pertamina to bring in Cnooc for the Angola bid,” Kurtubi, founder of the Jakarta-based Center of Petroleum and Energy Economics, said by telephone. “Cnooc has a strong capital base and is a well-known energy company,” and the move will help Indonesia secure crude supplies for domestic refineries, said Kurtubi, who goes by one name.

Crude output dropped 2.5 percent to 769,068 barrels a day in April from March, the nation’s oil and gas regulator BPMigas said on May 3. Angola, which vies with Nigeria as Africa’s top oil producer, pumped 1.625 million barrels a day last month.

Indonesia produced 957,000 barrels of oil a day last year, missing its target of 965,000 barrels. The government expects output to reach 952,000 barrels a day this year.

Indonesian Gas Field

The Indonesian government has selected Pertamina, Exxon, Total SA (FP) and Malaysia’s Petroliam Nasional Bhd. to jointly develop East Natuna, estimated to hold 40 percent of the country’s natural gas reserves. The companies may reach a production-sharing agreement in the first half of 2011, Evita Legowo, director general of oil and gas at the Energy and Mineral Resources Ministry, said on Dec. 17.

The field off Borneo’s western coast was discovered in 1973 and Exxon was granted a license to explore for gas seven years later. In 2006, Indonesia revoked the license, saying the U.S. company had failed to provide a feasibility study. Exxon, which had held a 76 percent stake, denied the claim.

Pertamina wants to hold the majority stake in East Natuna and be its operator, Ferederick Siahaan, the company’s former investment planning director, said in December.

East Natuna, previously called Natuna D-Alpha, is estimated by Pertamina to hold 46 trillion cubic feet of gas. That compares with the 112.5 trillion cubic feet of reserves held by Indonesia as of the end of 2009, according to BP Plc (BP/)’s Statistical Review of World Energy.

Friday, 13 May 2011

Saipem has been awarded new offshore pipeline engineering and construction contracts in China and Brazil.

In China, Husky Oil China has awarded Saipem a contract for the Liwan 3-1 Field – Deepwater, which is located in Block 29/26, approximately 300 km south of Hong Kong in water depths of 1,500 m. It represents the first offshore field developed in deep water in the South China Sea.

The scope of work includes the engineering, procurement, construction and installation of two 79 km, 22 inch diameter pipelines and umbilicals, as well as the transport and installation of a subsea production system linking the wellheads to a processing platform.

In Brazil, Petrobras has awarded Saipem a contract for the Guara and Lula-Northeast gas export pipelines in the Santos Basin, approximately 260 km off the coasts of Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo, in water depths of between 2,100 and 2,200 m.

The contract encompasses the transportation, installation and pre-commissioning of two export sealines, as well as the engineering, procurement and construction of related subsea equipment.

The 54 km, 18 inch diameter first line will connect the Guara floating production storage and offloading (FPSO) vessel to a subsea gathering manifold in the Lula field. The 22 km, 18 inch diameter second line will connect the Lula-Northeast FPSO to the same manifold in the Lula field.

The offshore activities for both the contracts will be performed mainly by the newly-built and highly specialised Saipem FDS 2 vessel in different periods between 2012 and 2013.

Thursday, 12 May 2011

Shell Refining Kawal Kebocoran Di Loji Penapisannya Di Port Dickson

Shell Refining Company (Federation of Malaya) Bhd berkata kebocoran daripada kira-kira 35 tong sisa minyak petrol dari loji penapisannya di Port Dickson ke dalam parit monsun berdekatan minggu lepas telah dapat dikawal.

Dalam satu kenyataan pada Selasa, syarikat itu berkata minyak petrol dikesan di longkang sepanjang Kampung Paya dan Kampung Air Meleleh, berdekatan dengan loji penapisan itu Sabtu lepas.

"Operasi pembersihan selama 24 jam dimulakan segera dan selesai lewat Isnin. Keadaan kini terkawal dengan semua minyak petrol ditemui dan terkawal, tiada impak pada kawasan sekitar. Usaha membendung telah memastikan minyak dihalang daripada mengalir ke Selat Melaka," kata syarikat itu.

Shell Refining berkata sebaik menemui kebocoran itu, pasukan respons kecemasan loji itu bersama dengan PIMMAG (Petroleum Industry Malaysia Mutual Aid Group) memulakan segera operasi pembersihan itu yang membabitkan 50 orang.

Lima boom juga dipasang untuk memerangkap lumpur dan mesin pengorek dibawa bagi membersihkan saliran.

Shell Refining berkata siasatan awal oleh loji penapisan itu menunjukkan bawa punca kebocoran itu adalah dari satu paip yang menghubungkan dengan tangki penyimpanan sisa minyak petrol.

Jabatan Alam Sekitar, Jabatan Keselamatan dan Kesihatan Pekerjaan (OSH) dan pihak berkuasa berkaitan yang lain juga telah dimaklumkan.

Bersama-sama dengan pihak berkuasa, syarikat itu berkata ia telah menjalankan siasatan penuh dan akan melaksanakan apa yang telah dipelajari daripada insiden itu bagi mengelakkannya daripada berulang.


Petronas to announce RM50bil complex in Johor

Petronas will announce on Friday plans to invest around RM50bil in an integrated downstream oil and gas complex in Pengerang, Johor, reliable sources said.

Dubbed Rapid or Refinery And Petrochemical Integrated Development, the project is aimed at building something “larger than Kertih” and will eventually include multinational oil and gas companies as joint-venture partners.

The integrated development will not only include oil refining and petrochemical activities, but include a gas power plant and other “supportive industries” said sources.

Rapid is a project identified in the Economic Transformation Programme (ETP), which is led by the Performance Management & Delivery Unit (Pemandu).

One of the reasons why Pengerang was chosen is because its waters can reach depths of more than 20m, which is what is needed for very large crude carriers (VLCC) and ultra large crude carriers.

The Johor government will be a joint-venture partner of the project and will provide the land.

Sources indicate that Petronas' Rapid project complements plans for the RM5bil independent deepwater petroleum terminal in Pengerang, which is to be the first deepwater terminal in South-East Asia.

The terminal is a tankage facility for handling, storing, blending and distribution of crude oils and petroleum products with marine facilities capable of handling VLCCs.

Part of the thinking behind Rapid was to replicate what Singapore has already done successfully, sources said. Singapore's oil refining businesses only started around 10 years ago.

Singapore has an export refining capacity of 1.3 million barrels per day, compared with Malaysia's 560,000 barrels per day, according to the ETP roadmap.

Singapore Refining Company Pte Ltd, which operates a refinery on Jurong Island, is capable of processing 290,000 barrels of crude oil per day.

Other major refineries in Singapore include ExxonMobil's refinery in Jurong that process about 605,000 barrels of crude per day and Shell's Pulau Bukom Refinery with some 500,000 barrels of crude oil per day.

Plans for Petronas to develop Johor's Pengerang into a sizeable force in the oil and gas (O&G) space are not new.

Last November, the Government said Petronas would play a major role in the development of Johor's south-east areas of Teluk Ramunia and Pengerang into a O&G hub in the region.

It was then said that the investments in the hub would come from Petronas and its international partners and the investments would bring major development into Johor's south-east areas and could turn Teluk Ramunia and Pengerang into a new Kertih.

Petronas chief executive officer Datuk Shamsul Azhar Abbas confirmed then that Petronas was talking with several international investors to invest in Teluk Ramunia and Pengerang.

Once a sleepy fishing village in Terengganu, Kertih is now a thriving township due to O&G related activities with Petronas as the main driver in the O&G sector there.

The Petronas Kertih Refinery is the national oil company's first oil refinery in Malaysia, and processes 49,000 barrels of Malaysian light, sweet crude oil per day.

In total, Petronas owns and operates four refineries (three in Malaysia and one in South Africa) with a total refining capacity of more than 448,000 barrels per day.

The Government had also said then that while the investments would come from Petronas and its partners, the Government was looking into allocating money for infrastructure developments in the areas.

Another aspect of the oil and gas thrust in the ETP (and which is linked to the Rapid project) is for Malaysia to venture into the lucrative area of oil trading. Singapore accounts for hundreds of billions of oil trading every year, an area of business that is virtually absent in Malaysia.

According to the ETP roadmap, Singapore, by 2007, had built a significant trading business worth more than RM1 trillion in physical oil trade and RM2 trillion in derivative trade.

Sources said the Government may consider providing additional incentives to attract oil trading firms to be located in Johor. - The Star

Petronas CEO Assures Sabah Oil And Gas Contractors Of Future Opportunities

National oil company Petronas has given assurance that it will consider local contractors when awarding future projects in Sabah, following a call made by Sabah Oil and Gas Contractors Association (SOGCA) for more opportunities from Petronas.

Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman said the oil and gas company''s chief executive officer, Datuk Shamsul Azhar Abbas, had responded well to SOGCA''s call and has made a promise to ensure such opportunities be given to qualified local contractors in the industry.

"Over breakfast this morning with Shamsul together with State Industrial Development Minister Datuk Raymond Tan Shu Kiah, we had discussed and I had relayed the wishes of the traders and contractors in Sabah''s oil and gas industry.

"I requested that opportunities be given to contractors in Sabah so that they could venture and actively take part in the oil and gas industry, considering that our state is also an oil producer.

"He took well my views and promised to look into ensuring that projects by Petronas will take into account the interest of qualified businessmen and contractors from Sabah and not just the Bumiputeras but also the non-Bumiputeras," he told reporters after launching the Mobile Courtroom here, today.

He said this in response to the call made by SOGCA.

SOGCA had highlighted that local contractors were not getting enough projects from Petronas, saying that the opportunities usually went to main contractors from Peninsular Malaysia or Sarawak, while Sabahan contractors would only be appointed as sub-contractors.

Its president Datuk Iskandar Malik also suggested that for the sake of transparency and credibility, priority should be given to SOGCA members who have the experience and capability to implement projects hands-on.

The association further called on the Government to review the Petroleum Act 1974, to ease Petronas in channelling project contracts directly to the local industry in Sabah and not through the main contractors from Sarawak or Peninsular Malaysia.

It had also urged Sabah Members of Parliament (MPs) to assist in the matter. --BERNAMA

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

MITI Hopes Petronas Will Extend Its Vendors Development Program

The Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI) is hoping that Petronas would extend the term of its vendors development program (VDP) by another five years from its present five-year term.

This would enable the participating companies to get returns from their investment and compete internationally, said its deputy minister Datuk Mukhriz

The present term is too short for some companies, he said.

"We are hoping that there could be a 5+5 years VDP for the companies," he told reporters after the official opening of Efficient Technology Sdn Bhd (EFFTECH)''s new building at the Tebrau Industrial Area 3 here today.

Under the VDP, Bumiputera contractors are appointed by Petronas to supply products or services for a specific period with the objective of developing the selected contractors into competitive and resilient Bumiputera entrepreneurs capable of manufacturing, supplying and providing high quality services.

"It is our hope that Petronas will not only continue to enhance the VDP but also bring in more companies and look into how long the companies (could) remain in the VDP," Mukhriz said.

He said in the oil and gas industry, most if not all the companies have huge capital expenditure and it would take them years, and at times exceeding the term of their participation in the VDP, to get returns from their investment.

At the same time the government expects them to continue investing amid the evolving technologies, he said, pointing out the reasons for seeking the extension on the VDP term.

Apart from that, these companies also need to upgrade their technology know-how and buy new equipments.

This matter was brought up to the ministry by the VDP participants, he said.

Mukhriz also disclosed that in a discussion with Petronas, the latter had said it would positively consider extending the term on a case-by-case basis.

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Shell, BP cut petrol, diesel prices in New Zealand

Shell says a dramatic drop in the price of crude oil has led to it dropping its price for petrol and diesel by 6 cents a litre from 7am this morning.

The new price for 91 octane petrol will be 215.9 cents, 222.9c for 95 octane and 157.9c for diesel.

BP also announced a short time ago it had dropped the cost of 91 octane to 215.9 cents, 95 octane to 223.9 cents per litre and ultimate diesel to 157.9 cents per litre.

BP Managing Director Mike McGuinness said a drop in the price of international crude oil had allowed BP to pass the saving onto customers at the pump.

"BP monitors both costs and the exchange rate daily and is committed to passing on any benefits of the both the higher dollar and lower product costs to motorists as quickly as possible.

"The international price of product has been increasing steadily for a while now, and we're as delighted as our customers will be to see this drop."
Pump prices in New Zealand are determined by the international price of refined petrol and diesel (purchased in US dollars), the US/NZ exchange rate, taxes and levies, international shipping costs and local operational costs.

Last week motorists were stung with record petrol prices as major suppliers increased the cost of 91 octane petrol by 3 cents to 221.9c a litre.

Oil companies blamed the price of refined oil rising faster than the exchange rate, prompted by demand in the United States and West Africa.

However, there was a dramatic drop in the price of crude on Friday, some of which had now flowed through to the refined product price, which ultimately drove the price at the pump, said Shell spokeswoman Sheena Thomas.

Other retailers are expected to follow suit.



Monday, 9 May 2011

'Polis baik' benarkan perhimpunan anti-Lynas

Dalam kemeriahan sambutan Hari Ibu, kira-kira 1,000 orang berkumpul di pusat perindustrian Gebeng, dekat Kuantan semalam kerana membantah pembinaan kilang nadir bumi bernilai RM700 juta.

NONEKumpulan itu, kebanyakannya golongan ibu, berkumpul di pantai Teluk Cempedak hanya diperhatikan tanpa gangguan daripada pihak polis.

Mereka jelas menyatakan tujuan tidak mahu kilang itu dibina dekat rumah mereka.

Pengerusi 'Selamatkan Malaysia, Hentikan Lynas' Vincent Jiam ketika dihubungiMalaysiakini berkata perhimpunan itu "berjalan dengan baik".

Keadaannnya tenang dengan orang ramai - kelihatan umpama perkelahan - berbual-bual sesama sendiri.

"Mereka nyalakan lilin, dan turut menyanyi bersama-sama," katanya.

NONEJawatankuasa itu mengedarkan 1,000 kuntum bunga, termasuk bunga kekwa untuk membangkitkan kesedaran bahawa radiasi daripada kilang nadir bumi boleh menjejaskan anak dalam kandungan.

Jiam berkata, kira-kira 20 anggota polis, diketuai Ketua Polis Daerah Mohd Jasmani Yusof bagaimanapun cuba melarang orang ramai menyalakan lilin dan menjual kemeja-t bertulis "Save Malaysia" (selamatkan Malaysia).

"Tetapi bila dia beredar, orang jual balik," kata Jiam.

"Anggota polis amat baik dengan kami. Kami tahu mereka tidak boleh keluarkan kenyataan rasmi, tetapi kami faham apa yang mereka lakukan."

Fuziah doubts IAEA panel impartiality

Kuantan MP Fuziah Salleh today questioned the impartiality of the United Nations nuclear agency engaged to advise the government on the rare earths plant in Kuantan, pointing to a report that one of the agency’s functions is to promote nuclear energy.

The opposition lawmaker said she had been at first relieved at the government’s move to seek aid from the UN’s Vienna-based International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) for assistance but changed her mind when she chanced upon research by environmentalist Joan Russow in the Global Compliance Research Project.

“After the horrifying statement made by the director-general of the AELB (Atomic Agency Licensing Board) vouching that the radioactive waste from LAMP (Lynas Advanced Materials Plant ) is ‘safe’ to the extent that it can be scattered everywhere, I was initially hopeful that the appointment of IAEA as an independent body to look into ‘Lynas Project’ will allay some of the fears of the Kuantan people.

“But as I read the article below written by Joan Russow from Global Compliance Research Project, I can’t help but wonder whether it’s too wishful for me to continue to be hopeful,” Fuziah wrote in a blog post today.

According to Russow’s article, although the IAEA has the role of nuclear watchdog, the agency had allegedly violated several fundamental principles through “selective monitoring” and the wrongful promotion of nuclear energy by means of “nukespeak, seductive devices, doctrines and dogmas”.

“Nukespeak”, she said, was to “sanitise by euphemisms”.

“There are forbidden words in the language of nuclear power. For example, the words ‘accident’, ‘pollution’, or ‘disease’ are never used. “Accidents are either ‘transients’, ‘events’, ‘significant events’, ‘anomalies’, ‘occurrences’ or ‘abnormal occurrences’,” said Russow.

IAEA was also accused of violating the principle sovereign equality of states as enshrined in the UN Charter.

“If the IAEA were serious about eliminating the risk of nuclear proliferation, it would have to be perceived to be fair.

“The IAEA has not embarked on a full programme of monitoring the nuclear arsenal of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council (United States, Russia, France, China and Great Britain) — and their allies,” Russow wrote.

Additionally, she said, IAEA had also violated the principle that “a monitor should not a promoter be”, pointing out that while IAEA was set up to monitor the proliferation of nuclear arms, the agency also promoted the use of nuclear, including nuclear energy.

“For years, at least since 1992, and the negotiation of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, the IAEA has been a promoter of nuclear energy as the solution to climate change,” said Russow.

Fuziah noted that this could pose as a conflict of interest for the agency, should its advice be sought over the controversial RM700 million rare earths plant in Gebeng.

Reuters reported a statement from IAEA yesterday confirming that Malaysia had sought the help of the agency to organise an expert panel for advice on the potential radiation risks of a rare earths facility in Kuantan.

“Through the IAEA Technical Co-operation Programme, the agency will support the international expert mission to review the Lynas project’s compliance with relevant international safety standards and good practices and to provide an independent expert opinion on the radiological safety aspects of the Lynas Project,” Reuters quoted the IAEA as saying in a statement.

“This mission is scheduled to depart by May 29, 2011.”

It was announced recently that the plant would be put on a one-month hold pending a panel review on the health, safety and environmental aspects of the rare-earth refinery.

During the period, the Australian miner is barred from importing raw materials into the country.

Construction on the RM700 million LAMP can continue but it will not receive a pre-operating licence until the month-long independent review is complete, the federal government said on April 22.

Lynas has, however, said the review panel to be set up by the Malaysian government will not slow the start-up of its rare-earth refinery scheduled for September.

“Lynas understands that the review will be completed within a month and as such believes the review will have no impact on the anticipated completion date of the project,” the Sydney-based company said in a media statement.

“Lynas is confident the review will reconfirm that the plant is safe and presents no hazard to the community or Lynas workers,” it added.

Lynas also announced a new customer for its rare earth products to be produced by LAMP but withheld the name of the buyer.

Should it get a clean bill of health, the Gebeng plant will process rare-earth mineral ores, including neodymium and yttrium, shipped from the company’s Mount Weld mine in Western Australia.

Sunday, 8 May 2011

Amarinth gains Petronas approved vendor status

Amarinth, a supplier of centrifugal pumps and associated equipment to the industrial, chemical and petrochemical industries, has gained Petronas approved vendor status – the certification necessary to provide equipment into the majority of the oil and gas projects in the Malaysia region.

According to Amarinth, the deal gives it more access to the Malaysian market for the oil and gas industry, especially for its range of API 610 centrifugal pumps, used in onshore and offshore applications.

Lagi perhimpunan bantah kilang proses nadir bumi

Sekurang-kurangnya 100 penduduk di Balok dan kawasan sekitarnya mengadakan perhimpuan aman sebagai bantahan terhadap cadangan pembinaan pusat pemprosesan nadir bumi milik Lynas di Gebeng yang terletak berhampiran penempatan mereka.

NONEMereka mendakwa ini kali keempat perhimpunan aman seumpama itu diadakan.

Ia diadakan selepas solat Jumaat di Masjid Al Fatah di Balok.

Perhimpunan kali ini dianjurkan oleh Jawatankuasa Bertindak Anti-Lynas Persatuan Penduduk Balok dan diketuai oleh ketua pemuda PAS, Nasaruddin Hassan dan ketua pemuda PAS Pahang Suhaimi Saad.

Sambil membawa sepanduk dan kain rentang yang tertera perkataan “Selamatkan Kuantan, Hentikan Lynas” mereka juga mendesak pembinaan kilang itu dihentikan segera.

Ada juga kain rentang yang mempunyai logo 1Malaysia tetapi dengan mesej “1Bantah Kilang Radioaktif (rare earth) di Gebeng”.

NONEPada perhimpunan ini, Nasaruddin dan Suhaimi mendakwa Umno cuba membawa dimensi perkauman dalam isu kilang pemprosesan nadir bumi itu.

Mereka berkata Umno ke kampung-kampung Melayu dan memberitahu penduduk bahawa hanya masyarkat Cina yang menentang projek Lynas.

“Radioaktif adalah isu sejagat,” kata mereka pada perhimpunan ini.

Saturday, 7 May 2011

UMW gets Petronas Carigali confirmation

UMW Group has received confirmation from Petronas Carigali Sdn Bhd (PCSB) for the execution of the provision of the Jack-up Drilling Rig "NAGA 3" contract, for the Petronas Carigali Drilling Programme.

The confirmation was received by UMW's unit, UMW Standard Drilling Sdn Bhd (UMWSD).

Under the contract, UMW said UMWSD would provide its expertise, equipment, materials, consumables and personnel required to perform the operation of the drilling programme for one year, from the Letter of Award, which was dated Jan 21,2011 with two one-year extension options.

The contract, worth approximately US$41.5 million (US$1 = RM2.9930), is expected to contribute positively to the earnings and net assets of UMW for the financial year ending Dec 31, 2011, and beyond, it said in a filing to Bursa Malaysia today. -- Bernama

Sejarah akan berulang, kata aktivis Bukit Merah

Kontroversi pembinaan pusat nadir bumi di Lynas di Gebeng, Pahang tidak akan dibuka lama sekiranya memulakan operasinya mengikut jadual.

NONEHew Yoon Tat (kiri) - yang menggerakkan kempen antiradionaktif untuk projek nadir bumi pertama di Malaysia di Bukit Merah, Perak sejak 1980 - percaya pembinaan loji baru tidak akan mendapat sokongan awam.

"Saya rasa projek Lynas akan diteruskan, kerana sudah ada kontrak. Berapa lama ia bertahan, itu persoalan lain..

"Lynas mungkin berakhit seperti Bukit Merah, kerana orang ramai membantahnya," katanya dalam wawancara dengan Malaysiakini di rumahnya di Bukit Merah.

Mengingati pengalamannya mengepalai bantahan terhadap kilang Asian Rare Earth (ARE) di bandar itu, Hew melihat sukar menyeimbangkan kepentingan perniagaan dan kerajaan dengan kehendak awam yang terpaksa mengharungi risikonya.

NONEDalam kes ARE, tambahnya, penduduk setempat tidak mudah bersetuju dengan tahap keselamatannya ekoran "panel pakar" kedua-dua pihak membuat kesimpulan yang saling bertentangan.

Panel yang dibentuk penduduk mendapati kilang itu menjejaskan kesihatan orang ramai manakala panel kerajaan dan pengusahanya Mitsubishi Chemical mendapati ia selamat.

Lelaki 68 tahun itu masih amat ragu dengan keputusan kerajaan untuk membentuk panel bebas antarabangsa untuk mengkaji projek Lynas yang disifatkannya bertujuan mententeramkan ketakutan terhadap keracunan radioaktif. - MKini

Friday, 6 May 2011

Anifah Takes Petronas To Task

Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Anifah Aman took Petronas to task Saturday, saying that the national oil corporation did not give opportunities to the Bumiputera community in Sabah.

He said the only thing to show that Petronas was open to working with local companies was a memorandum of understanding (MOU) it signed with the Malay Chamber of Commerce Malaysia (DPMM) with regard to its oil and gas project in Kimanis.

Even then, it was not good enough as the MOU was not legally binding and therefore not enforceable, he said when opening the DPMM Sabah chapter's 13th annual general meeting here Saturday.

Anifah noted that Petronas, upon embarking on the multi-billion ringgit project, had sidelined local companies and engaged concessionaries from outside Sabah.

The Kimanis member of Parliament said he was especially disappointed that Petronas had neglected to fulfil the conditions relating to the 250 acres of native land surrendered to the company by the villagers of Kg Takis for the development of the oil and gas terminal.

"I asked them to build a technical school where our children can be trained in skills relevant to the industry. I asked them to built plants in Kimanis for downstream activities.

"If they are sincere and want to help the state's economy then they should make their presence beneficial to Sabahans. Otherwise, we have to restrict their presence," he said.

He also expressed regret that Bintulu, rather than Sabah, would be the destination for oil and gas.

"What have we got?" he asked. - Bernama

Lynas: Agensi Pertubuhan Bangsa-Bangsa Bersatu (PBB) tubuh panel pakar nasihat Malaysia

Agensi nuklear Pertubuhan Bangsa-Bangsa Bersatu (PBB) akan membentuk panel bebas bagi menasihat kerajaan Malaysia berhubung potensi risiko yang akan diterima kesan daripada projek loji pemprosesan nadir bumi oleh syarikat perlombongan Australia, Lynas Corporation, kata agensi itu.

Pendirian itu dibuat selepas Malaysia meminta Agensi Tenaga Atom Antarabangsa (IAEA) di Vienna untuk membantu mengesan kesan yang akan diterima penduduk setempat terutamanya membentuk panel bebas bagi mengkaji tahap kesihatan dan keselamatan sekiranya projek itu diteruskan.

Ekoran projek loji pemprosesan nadir bumi itu, ia mendapat bantahan keras daripada aktivis yang mengatakan Malaysia akan menjadi lokasi pembuangan sisa radioaktif selain akan menyebabkan tahap kesihatan terjejas.

“Melalui program kerjasama teknikal IAEA, agensi akan menyokong usaha misi pakar antabangsa untuk mengkaji projek Lynas agar ia mematuhi piawaian keselamatan antarabangsa dan keperluan yang baik akan memberikan faedah terhadap aspek keselamatan projek Lynas,” katanya dalam satu kenyataan.

“Misi itu dijadualkan bermula pada 29 Mei 2011,” katanya.

Bulan lalu, Lynas berkata Malaysia hanya memerlukan kajian selama satu bulan berhubung kesan radioaktif dan tidak akan menangguhkan pembinaan loji pemprosesan itu.

Bernama sebelum ini melaporkan Menteri Perdagangan Antarabangsa dan Industri Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed berkata satu panel bebas akan ditubuhkan secepat yang mungkin bagi menjalankan kajian terhadap aspek kesihatan dan keselamatan loji itu bagi menolak kebimbangan bahawa ia menimbulkan ancaman radioaktif, yang berpotensi menyekat bekalan dari China.

Kajian itu dijangka siap dalam tempoh sebulan.

Lynas Malaysia berkata loji pemprosesan itu menerima bahan mentah dari firma Mount Weld di Barat Australia.

Pemprosesan nadir bumi digunakan untuk mencipta alat berteknologi tinggi termasuk telefon pinta dan kenderaan hidbrid.

Pembeli termasuk dari China, Amerika Syarikat dan negara-negara Eropah bergantung kepada bahan mentah yang mana kini mereka bergantung sehingga 95 peratus bekalan dari China.

Cadangan pembinaan loji pemprosesan nadir bumi di Gebeng dekat Kuantan akan mejadikan ia sebagai pengeluar terbesar selepas China.

Pegawai syarikat berkenaan berkata keuntungan yang akan diperoleh dari projek loji pemprosesan nadir bumi Malaysia akan mencecah sehingga 22,000 tan, dan ia akan memenuhi keperluan selain China menjelang 2013. - TMI

Bumi Armada to launch US$1b IPO

Oil and gas service provider Bumi Armada is looking to raise about US$1 billion (RM2.97 billion) from its initial public offer, which has been delayed several times since 2007, sources with direct knowledge of the deal told Reuters.

IFR, a Thomson Reuters company, reported yesterday that Bumi Armada was expected to file a draft prospectus with the Malaysian regulators this week for what is likely to be the country’s largest listing in 2011.

A banking source confirmed the news today and said that Bumi Armada, which belongs to tycoon T. Ananda Krishnan, would raise close to US$1 billion from its IPO.

CIMB, Maybank and Credit Suisse are the joint global coordinators for the IPO, and are also joint bookrunners with CLSA, RHB and UBS. — Reuters

Thursday, 5 May 2011

LPTA : Lynas ‘didenda’ RM50 juta bagi setiap bencana radiasi

Sementara panel antarabangsa sedang meneliti aspek kesihatan dan keselamatan, Lynas Corporation akan dipertanggungjawabkan dengan syarat ‘denda’ sehingga RM50 juta bagi setiap bencana jika loji pemprosesan nadir bumi mereka di Gebeng menyebabkan kebocoran radiasi.

Lembaga Pelesenan Tenaga Atom (LPTA) berkata syarikat Australia itu juga perlu menamakan individu yang perlu bertanggungjawab bagi sebarang kejadian tidak diingini sebelum ia boleh dibenar beroperasi di zon industri Gebeng dekat Kuantan, dijangka akhir tahun ini.

“Dalam undang-undang, entiti yang diberi lesen perlu menamakan seseorang yang bertanggungjawab bagi lesen dan ia akan bertanggungjawab sehingga RM50 juta bagi setiap insiden,” kata Ketua Pengarahnya Raja Datuk Abdul Aziz Raja Adnan (gambar) dalam satu temu bual dengan The Malaysian Insider.

Katanya, ia selaras dengan Seksyen 59(1) Akta Pelesenan Tenaga Atom.

Pada 22 April lalu, Lynas Malaysia Sdn Bhd berkata kajian semula panel bebas terhadap kilang nadir bumi di Gebeng akan membantu menangani kebimbangan orang ramai terhadap aspek kesihatan, keselamatan dan alam sekitar berhubung projek itu.

Menteri Perdagangan Antarabangsa dan Industri Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed mengumumkan satu panel bebas akan ditubuhkan secepat mungkin bagi menjalankan kajian terhadap aspek kesihatan dan keselamatan loji itu bagi menolak kebimbangan bahawa ia menimbulkan ancaman radioaktif.

Kajian itu dijangka siap dalam tempoh sebulan.

Lima hingga tujuh pakar antarabangsa yang diperakui dalam bidang radiasi akan dilantik menganggotai panel itu, yang ditubuhkan susulan maklum balas daripada orang ramai.

Mustapa berkata sehingga kajian itu selesai, dan sementara menunggu keputusan kerajaan, tiada lesen praoperasi akan dikeluarkan kepada Lynas oleh AELB.

Syarikat itu juga tidak dibenarkan untuk mengimport bahan mentah dari Australia sementara kerajaan membuat keputusan terhadap hasil kajian itu.

“Mereka membuat keputusan (untuk melabur RM700 juta) sebab mereka percaya bahawa mereka boleh memenuhi syarat-syarat yang ketat,” kata Raja Aziz.

Kata beliau, syarikat itu perlu membuat pradeklarasi dan mematuhi paras torium . — elemen radioaktif yang ditemui di kesemua simpanan nadir bumi dan uranium di kedua-dua bahan mentah dan sisa buangan.

Raja Aziz menambah, Lynas belum memenuhi keperluan permohonan bagi mendapatkan lesen praoperasi yang akan menyediakan tempoh selama tiga tahun bagi AELB untuk memantau dan mengesahkan sama ada keseluruhan proses pemprosesan adalah selari dengan perancangan pradeklarasi.

“Lynas ada menghantar kepada saya permohonan. Tetapi jika anda menghantar satu surat tanpa dokumentasi, ia bukan permohonan. Kami sudah melihatnya dan ia tidak lengkap,” kata beliau. - TMI