Brunei’s conducive and pro-business environment continues to be a key factor in attracting foreign investors to consider setting up base in the country.
In the petrochemicals sector, Zhejiang Hengyi Group – one of the first Chinese investors to set up base in the country – was granted approval in 2011 to set up Hengyi Industries Sdn Bhd.
The company, in partnership with Damai Holdings Limited, is developing a world-class refinery and integrated petrochemical complex on a 260-hectare site at Pulau Muara Besar (PMB). Once completed, the B$4-billion project will be able to produce eight million tonnes of refined products per year, including diesel, gasoline, Jet A-1 and petrochemicals – which include benzene and toluene for both the local and Chinese markets.
Construction of various facilities are ongoing at PMB, while site preparations involving dredging, backfilling and reclamation works around the island have been completed, paving the way for construction of the refinery complex. Seven jetties are currently being built along the southeastern and western shores of the island to facilitate the offloading of equipment and machineries before the construction of the main refinery complex, which begins in the third quarter of 2017.
A four-lane, 2.7-kilometer bridge over the sea will connect the mainland to PMB, and a 2.5-kilometer road will be constructed leading to the refinery complex. Both will facilitate the movement of personnel, raw materials and finished products for exports as well as provide vital services and utilities to the island. With construction activities well underway, Hengyi Industries has started recruiting locals. Currently, 60 Bruneians are permanent employees of the company, which is expected to generate 980 jobs in the first phase of the refinery’s development.
As part of its long-term commitment to develop local talent and manage its future manpower requirements, the company has introduced a joint-scholarship programme in association with Universiti Brunei Darussalam (UBD) and Zhejiang University.
Students following the four-year Bachelor of Science degree course in Chemical
Engineering will undergo a twinning programme with UBD and Zhejiang University. They will spend their first two years at UBD, followed by one and half years at Zhejiang University – including a six- month industrial placement with one of the group’s affiliated plants in China, before completing the final semester at UBD.
A total of 45 scholars are pursuing the Chemical and Process Engineering course at present, with the first batch of scholars already fully employed with the company.
In addition, Hengyi Industries has employed nine graduates from the Energy Industry Competency Framework Programme launched by the EIDPMO. Besides contributing to the country’s economic diversification of downstream industries and creating jobs for Bruneians, the project is expected to generate a good number of business spin-offs for local companies and SMEs.
The commissioning and operation of the refinery is expected to begin in 2019.
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