Bandar Seri Begawan - As the 9th Legislative Council meeting yesterday progressed, the topic of energy was touched upon with a number of members listening to the status of the ongoing progress of several oil and gas related projects that are expected to bring about significant economic gains.
The Minister of Finance II at the Prime Minister's Office, Yang Berhormat Pehin Orang Kaya Laila Setia Dato Seri Setia Awang Haji Abdul Rahman bin Haji Ibrahim explained that over the next two years, Brunei's main industry is expected to witness milestones in downstream energy.
In response to questions put forth by Yang Berhormat Awang Haji Mohd Shafiee bin Ahmad as he pointed out that, "The government spends approximately $141.99 million on the importation of oil and gas related products, and if a new oil refinery is constructed, a total of that spending can be reduced," the minister stated that the planned petrochemical plant and refinery is slated to meet its finance investment decision some time this year.
"One area within Pulau Muara Besar has been identified to house the plant and its first phase will involve an investment of US$4 billion, which is considered to be the biggest Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in the country.
"This will open opportunities for spin-offs for local contractors and suppliers during its construction period and will then provide permanent employment for some 800 locals along with supplementing the country's Gross Domestic Product of $2 billion a year," he stated, adding that the said plant has been scheduled to begin operations by the end of 2015.
Another FDI, elaborated the minister, will come in the form of an aluminium plant depending on the supply of natural gas as well as ammonia-urea derivatives, which is currently in its facility research stage and is expected to be realised by 2014.
Once the latter starts operations, he said, the initiative will be able to provide 400 work opportunities.
"In the long run, downstream industries can contribute $5 billion to the country's GDP by the year 2035 whilst providing work for the people," he said.
--Courtesy of Borneo Bulletin