Petronas set to be region’s 2nd largest urea producer

Kota Kinabalu: The Sabah Ammonia Urea (Samur) project is set to make Petronas Chemicals Group (PCG) Southeast Asia’s second largest urea producer, producing 2.6 million metric tonnes per annum (mmtpa) once it is fully operational next year.

Petronas Chemical Fertiliser Sabah Sdn Bhd Chief Executive Officer Mohd Iskandar Bakeri said currently, the PCG’s urea production capacity is only at 1.4 mmtpa, making it the fifth largest producer in the region.

“We are proud to say that the project is 90 per cent completed and commercial operation is expected to begin as early as next year,” he said during a media briefing here, Thursday. The project, which started in 2011, was supposed to be completed this year but various technical issues hindered its progress.

Nonetheless, the company is confident that the deadline will be met and operation will commence as planned.

The plant is expected to create more than 4,000 jobs, with 80 to 90 per cent of the jobs to be given to Sabahans. However, for a start, the management levels will mainly be filled by outsiders who have more experience in the day-to-day operation of the plant.

Such arrangement had become a thorny issue among the locals, especially when it was revealed that the company has no concrete model on a workable succession plan to replace the outsiders with the locals.

On the other hand, the plant is expected to create numerous economic opportunities, especially for the SMEs industry, because the plant will only be manning its core activities such as operation and maintenance. “The rest, such as machining, pipe fitters and welders, machinery overhaul, blasting and painting, scaffolding, will be outsourced.

“Other business opportunities include the general maintenance and housekeeping, transport services and electrical and instrumentation works which would certainly encourage local economy and provide more job opportunities,” said Iskandar.

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