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Petronas' RAPID refinery to reach commercial operations by year-end

Kuala Lumpur — Malaysia's Refinery and Petrochemical Integrated Development, or RAPID, facility, located in the Pengerang Integrated Complex and owned by national oil company Petronas and Saudi Aramco, is expected to reach commercial operations by the end of 2019, Petronas chief executive Tan Sri Wan Zulkiflee Wan Ariffin said at a conference in Kuala Lumpur.

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The refinery's Atmospheric Residue Desulphurisation Unit had caught fire in April 2019 while it was in the commissioning stage, raising concerns that the refinery's start-up schedule would be delayed. Petronas had previously said its refinery start-up was expected by early 2019.

The greenfield refinery complex cost around $27 billion and includes a deepwater terminal, co-generation plant and re-gasification terminal.

The RAPID refinery in Johor is one of the biggest projects that Petronas has ever undertaken, with a refining capacity of 300,000 b/d and 3.3 million tons of petrochemical capacity, Wan Zulkiflee said at the Asia Oil & Gas Conference 2019.

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"We take the view that there will be demand for petrochemicals. There would be times of volatility but I think the price trend goes up. So we take a very bullish view," he said.

"Construction is almost complete. We are pre-commissioning parts of the plant and we hope to be able to reach commercial operations by end of this year," Wan Zulkiflee added.

He said the RAPID refinery is in close proximity to markets in Southeast Asia, China and India. "So that's why we took this bold decision of sanctioning the project when oil prices were extremely challenging," he said.

-- Eric Yep, eric.yep@spglobal.com

-- Sambit Mohanty, sambit.mohanty@spglobal.com

-- Edited by Kshitiz Goliya, kshitiz.goliya@spglobal.com