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THE ambitious “green goal” under the 12th Malaysian Plan 2021-2025 (12MP) could be a boon Petronas Gas Bhd (PetGas), which has a strong presence in the country’s gas processing, pipeline and regasification facilities.
The 12MP targets to see a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, with the government to stop building coal-fired power plants, replacing them with cleaner electricity generation that includes gas-fired power plants.
With the outlook of higher demand for gas, PetGas managing director and CEO Abdul Aziz Othman says the group is eyeing to increase its gas processing and regasification plants, which are currently being fully utilised by national oil company Petroliam Nasional Bhd (Petronas).
He says the group is also looking into other clean energy such as hydrogen and increasing its power generation capacity through co-generation power plants (cogen).
PetGas runs two cogen power plants for the Petronas group’s petrochemical complexes in Kerteh and Gebeng.
“Moving forward, we are looking to build more cogen power plants and are in talks with several industrial parks in the northern region to offer our expertise,” Abdul Aziz tells StarBizWeek.PetGas terminal Malacca - File pic
“It is still at a preliminary stage and normally a cogen construction would take about two to three years,” he says.
In comparison to conventional power plants, which only produce electricity, cogen power plants are said to be more efficient as “waste” energy from the electricity generation is used to produce steam.
The move to grow its power generation business is timely, considering that the government is looking for more environmentally friendly electricity-generation options.
In a report by the Energy Commission (EC) titled “2020 Report on Peninsular Malaysia Generation Development Plans”, the regulator says more than 7,000MW of coal-fired power plants will be retired by 2033.
About 5,300MW of new capacity of gas power plants will be added between 2026 and 2030, which would be another gain for PetGas.
Nonetheless, Abdul Aziz reckons that the surge in gas demand is likely to come in only beyond 2030.
As such, he said PetGas will be maintaining its annual capital expenditure at RM1bil for the next three years.
“Gas will be complementary to the country’s electricity generation but it is more of a long-term opportunity because coal would only be replaced from 2030 onwards,” he says.
According to the US Energy Information Administration (EIA), the statistical agency of the Department of Energy, natural gas is a “relatively clean burning fossil fuel” and produces fewer emissions in comparison to burning coal or petroleum products.