Gulf Petroleum gets nod for Malaysian petrochem complex

Eric Watkins
Senior Correspondent

LOS ANGELES, May 1 -- Qatar's privately held Gulf Petroleum Ltd. won regulatory approval from the Malaysian government to develop a $5 billion oil and petrochemical complex on a 1,000-hectare site in the northern state of Perak, according to state media.

Malaysia's Bernama news agency said the International Trade and Industry Ministry approved the request by Gulf Petroleum, which seeks to build a complex encompassing an oil refinery, a petrochemicals plant, and storage facilities.

Gulf Petroleum, which wants the proposed facility to serve as a regional hub for Asia-Pacific, plans to invest $1.5-2 billion in the project's first phase—an oil refinery with a capacity of 100,000 b/d-150,000 b/d.

The Qatar firm foresees further large investments for additional phases of the project: $1.5-2 billion for the petrochemical plant and about $1 billion for the storage facilities.

Gulf Petroleum said at least two Middle East national companies also will participate in the project, along with major energy, banking, and insurance groups from Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Oman, Bahrain, the UAE, and Egypt.

It is not clear if Gulf Petroleum's proposed Perak complex would connect with the bigger trans-peninsular pipeline and related refinery projects announced by Malaysia last year (OGJ Online, May 4, 2007).

The transpeninsular pipeline, intended as an alternative transport route to the busy Straits of Malacca, will cross the states of Kedah, Perak, and Kelantan to carry oil from West Asia to East Asia.

Another refinery project, led by Malaysia's SKS Development and Iran's National Iranian Oil Co., is being planned in Kedah.

Gulf Petroleum's shareholders include members of the Qatar royal family, the Qatar General Insurance and Reinsurance Co., the Al-Mana Group, the National Petroleum Group, and the banking arm of Al-Sari Group.

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