| Faza Suraj |
Brunei Methanol Company Sendirian Berhad (BMC Sdn Bhd) workers have been advised to expand and maintain efforts to speed up technological transfers for a safer and more stable operation.
This was revealed by BMC’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Akira Ishiwada, who spoke about milestones achieved since their initiation in 2006 and future plans as the Sultanate’s first methanol manufacturing and exporting plant, which commenced its full commercial operation back in May 2010 with a workforce of 190.
BMC – now in its fifth year with 250 staff members of which 90 per cent are locals – is a joint venture company between Mitsubishi Gas Chemical Company Inc, PetroleumBRUNEI and Itochu Corporation that is situated at one of the Brunei Economic Development Board’s (BEDB) Industrial Parks, SPARK (Sungai Liang Industrial Park) in the Belait District.
One important indicator of the company’s progress was its first shipment of 10,000 metric tonnes of methanol to China in May 2010, which also marked Brunei’s first major down-stream activity.
The milestone is significant because it paved the country’s path to economic diversification in line with the aspirations of His Majesty’s Government which also include the development of downstream industries from oil and gas resources.
To date, 613,000 metric tonnes have been exported from the US$400 million plant designed to produce 2,500 metric tonnes per day.
The CEO also highlighted that there are many benefits to investing in the Sultanate – “Brunei Darussalam is politically stable and strategically located in the middle of the growing Asian market with close distance to its neighbouring countries and naturally BMC’s methanol production is also supported by the availability of natural gas…”
To ensure that an organisation has the necessary tools to help compete locally and globally, it is important for companies to strive for the ISO 9001 accreditation, which would help improve its management with the implementation of quality management system requirements.
Meanwhile, in terms of environmental management, the ISO 14001 is equally important, as when awarded, the companies and organisations would then have the practical tools for identifying and subsequently controlling their environmental impacts as well as constantly improving their environmental management systems.
“With the assistance… the achievement of both accreditations as key milestones during the five years since the commencement of operations as well as the International Ship and Port Security Certification and the Certification of Compliance to COMAH (Control of Major Accident Hazards) Regulation 2013 in line with international standards, BMC has built strong competitiveness in the methanol business while also producing top grade methanol exported to markets such as Northeast Asia and Southeast Asia, as well as markets as far as India and the United states.
“Methanol has great potential to develop a wide variety of products, being an ideal feedstock for the pharmaceuticals, chemicals and plastics industries,” he added.
BMC has also been active with initiatives to transfer knowledge to the locals, especially providing the Jefri Bolkiah Engineering College (MKJB) attachment students with much exposure and experience while also hosting tours for students and instructors under the Energy Industry Competency Framework at the first chemical plant in Brunei, supporting the EDPMO’s (Energy Department at the Prime Minister’s Office) initiative to build the capabilities of the local workforce, which has resulted in two apprentices hired under the National Energy Graduate Apprenticeship Scheme.