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The Brunei Times: Methanol deals nod to diversification efforts

Shareen Han

AN ECONOMIC wave is expected to sweep Brunei into the international arena and bring in new jobs, new technologies and more business opportunities, after yesterday’s signing of six historic agreements to develop Brunei’s first methanol production and export plant.

The methanol plant project, which involves a total investment of more than $600 million, promises to be a major milestone in Brunei’s efforts of economic diversification through the creation of spin-off industries.

One of the deals was the gas sales agreement between the three companies forming the Brunei Methanol Company, the project proponent, and Brunei Shell Petroleum. The Brunei Methanol Company is a joint venture formed by state-owned Brunei National Petroleum Co Sdn Bhd (PetroleumBRUNEI), Mitsubishi Gas Chemicals and Itsuo Corporation.

The gas deal signing was followed by the land lease agreement between Sungai Liang Authority and Brunei Methanol Company, with Yang Amat Mulia Pengiran Kerma Raja Pengiran Hj Kamarulzaman PPSDSB Pengiran Hj Ali and Kinya Tsuji signing on behalf of the companies.

Other agreements were on marketing, technical services, licence, and catalyst supply between Brunei Methanol Company and Mitsubishi Gas Chemicals.

Kuniaki Ageishi, Chairman of the Brunei Methanol Company, said construction work will start soon and will take about 32 months to complete.

During the signing ceremony at the Jerudong Park Country Club, Dato Paduka Timothy Ong, Chairman of the Brunei Economic Development Board, said the project will bring in significant benefits to the people of Brunei and transform the economic landscape of the country.

He said the methanol project represents the third economic wave of Brunei, after the discovery of oil and the government of His Majesty’s partnership with leading global firms over the last century.

“It is one of the landmark projects in Brunei Darussalam of this generation,” said Pehin Orang Kaya Seri Utama Dato Seri Setia Hj Awg Yahya Begawan Mudim Dato Paduka Hj Bakar, Minister of Energy at the Prime Minister’s Office.

He said the project encompasses top class technologies, expertise and experiences of various parties in their respective fields, bringing along quality standards and benchmarks in making the Brunei methanol project a leader in the Asia Pacific region.

He added that the project is significant in terms of achieving the objective of diversifying the economy and bringing meaningful socio-economic benefits to the country.

“The plant will be completed at the end of 2009 and will be on stream from 2010,” he said.

Dr Grahaeme Henderson, Managing Director of Brunei Shell Petroleum, said the signing of the pacts will promise exciting opportunities, in terms of accelerated industrialisation, attract foreign direct investment, new business streams and offer more jobs for Bruneians.

He said the design of the facilities such as industrial gas terminal and a gas metering station is currently in progress.

“Construction of these facilities will be completed in the second quarter of 2008 (and) ready for commissioning the following year.”

Related article: The Brunei Times: $600m methanol plant coming up  

Sobrina Rosli

Production capacity is 850,000 metric tonnes per year

THE Brunei Methanol Company Sdn Bhd (BMC) yesterday saw an historical turning point by inking six deals for the construction of a $600 million world-class methanol plant.

The methanol plant, to be established on a 16-hectare lot at the Sungai Liang Industrial Park, will have a production capacity of 850,000 metric tonnes per year.

The signing ceremony began with the inking of a gas sales agreement between BMC and Brunei Shell Petroleum. BMC also signed a land lease agreement, as well as, marketing, technical services, license and catalyst supply deals.

In a welcoming speech, Kinya Tsuji, the Chief Executive Officer of BMC, said, “The objective of our Brunei Darussalam Methanol Project is to build a world-class petrochemical plant at the Sungai Liang Industrial Area for the first time in Brunei; to operate it by ourselves and to export the product, methanol.”

He said BMC has selected the Mitsubishi Methanol Production process, which is well-known and reputable around the world.

In a speech, Hj Mohd Ja’afar Awang Bakar, Chief Executive Officer of PetroleumBRUNEI, which is part of the joint venture backing the methanol project, said, “This project will utilise Brunei Darussalam’s natural resource to benefit our people (and) improve our quality of life. It is the biggest downstream investment since BLNG’s establishment nearly 40 years ago.”

“It will create 160 jobs under direct employment and many more jobs in contracts and support organisation throughout the construction and operations of the plant,” he added.

He said methanol is an ideal feedstock for other products like pharmaceuticals, chemicals and plastics. Methanol, he said, has great potential to develop a wide variety of products.

In March, BMC signed an engineering procurement construction contract with Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd. The construction is due to be completed by end-2009, while commercial operations will begin in the second quarter of 2010.

The Brunei Methanol Company is a joint venture between Mitsubishi Gas Chemical Company Inc, ITOCHU Corporation and state-owned Brunei National Petroleum Company Sdn Bhd. and its sister websites,,,,, and are all owned by John Donovan. There is also a Wikipedia article.

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