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Monday, January 30, 2017

'Najib must explain Saudi Aramco's pullout from Rapid project'



Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak has been asked to explain the reasons behind a decision by Saudi Arabian Oil Co (Saudi Aramco) to pull out of its US$27 billion (RM119.64 billion) joint venture with Petronas in Pengerang, Johor.
"It appears to be a sudden decision (by Saudi Aramco) to withdraw from the project.
"So the main issue here is, why did they pull out?" Parti Amanah Negara deputy president Salahuddin Ayub told Malaysiakini.
He said Najib, as prime minister and finance minister, has a duty to explain the loss of investments to develop the Refinery and Petrochemical Integrated Development (Rapid) project, proposed as a part of Petronas' Pengerang Integrated Complex (PIC).
"On one hand, we can link the withdrawal to a loss of confidence by foreign companies to invest in Malaysia as a result of the 1MDB scandal that has made international headlines," he added.
Salahuddin was responding to media reports last week quoting sources who said that Saudi Aramco has shelved its plans to enter into the joint venture with Petronas.
Last Thursday, The Wall Street Journal quoted sources who said Saudi Aramco had concluded that the project would not generate sufficient revenues.

However, Reuters reported last Friday that Petronas would be pushing ahead with plans to start Rapid's operations in 2019, despite Saudi Aramco's withdrawal.
"Petronas would like clarify that its Pengerang Integrated Complex project will continue to be the focus of its downstream growth agenda in the coming years," the company reportedly said, adding that the project is now 54 percent completed.
In September last year, it was reported that both Petronas and Saudi Aramco were in negotiations with local banks for a US$7.5 billion (RM33.23 billion) syndicated loan to finance the project.- Mkini

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