Petronas banks on polymer technology centre

12/1/2008 — Business Times
State oil and gas firm Petroliam Nasional Bhd (Petronas) is banking on its world-class polymer technology centre in Kertih to help attract investments worth RM2 billion at the Kertih Plastics Park (KPP) in Terengganu.
It expects the KPP development will be spurred by the Malaysian Plastics Manufacturers Association (MPMA).
“We are talking with the MPMA on the prospect of its members setting up factories at the KPP,” Petronas vice-president of petrochemical division Kamarudin Zakaria said in an interview recently.
The KPP is the country’s first fully integrated plastics park.
Located within the East Coast Economic Region (ECER), the park will be launched by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi tomorrow.
Kamarudin said the Petronas Polymer Technology Centre (PPTC), set up about a year ago at a cost of RM70 million, will provide technology support for KPP tenants.
“PPTC will be the enabler for companies at the park for the development of new products and applications, ranging from raw material selection to the commercialisation phase,” he explained.
PPTC has already developed and commercialised a premix degradable resin for plastic products called ECOPLUS. The ECOPLUS-based degradable plastic bags are now produced by a company from Sarawak.
PPTC is now working on a bio-degradable ECOPLUS that can turn into compost, he said.
The centre has also developed a new type of PVC pipes known as modified PVC (MPVC) for pressure piping in water distribution.
Kamarudin said MPVC pipes are sturdy and can last up to 50 years compared to about 15 years of the conventional PVC pipes.
“We are piping the KPP with MPVC,” he added.
Kamarudin believes that KPP can help the country become a bigger plastic exporter.
The park has so far attracted three companies with investments of more than RM100 million.
They include Hi Essence Cable Sdn Bhd, which is pumping RM85 million in a new cable factory, and FMD Polypipes Industry Sdn Bhd. The latter is finalising a RM20 million plan to build a pipe factory.
Kamarudin said KPP can be successful because of its easy access to feedstock and the availability of existing infrastructure and support services within the RM70 billion Petronas Petroleum Industry Complex (PPIC).
“This access to reliable and just-in-time feedstock supply translates into savings in logistics and warehousing costs.”
This, he added, can reduce plastics manufacturers’ capital outlay, allowing them to focus on their core business.
Malaysia is one of the largest plastic producers in Asia, exporting 18 per cent more products at RM4.6 billion in the first six months of 2008 than in the same period last year.
By Zuraimi Abdullah, Business Times