BFI to be one of the largest fertiliser plants in Southeast Asia

Brunei Fertilizer Industries Sdn Bhd (BFI) plant will be among the largest fertiliser plants in Southeast Asia once completed. It is set to produce 2,200 metric tonnes of ammonia and 3,900 metric tonnes of urea per day. It will create 500 direct employment opportunities during its first year of operation, of which 70 per cent of the workforce will be locals.

This information was shared by the Ministry of Energy in a statement yesterday.

According to the ministry, the demand for refined petroleum products is increasing, resulting in major expansion of the downstream industries globally. Because of this, Brunei Darussalam has embarked on a large-scale investment of downstream projects, creating opportunities for export markets and domestic industries.

One of the country’s mega downstream projects, under construction is the ammonia and urea plant operated by BFI. The construction of BFI’s state-of-the-art plant on a 55-hectare site in Sungai Liang Industrial Park (SPARK) began in May 2018 and is scheduled for first urea production by second quarter (Q2) 2021. The BFI plant is majority-owned by the Government of His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah ibni Al-Marhum Sultan Haji Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien Sa’adul Khairi Waddien, Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam.

The BFI plant is one of the two large downstream oil and gas projects in Brunei alongside PMB Refinery and Petrochemical Plant in Pulau Muara Besar. The plant consists of three parts: Offsite and utilities, ammonia and urea plants. The products will be exported to the agriculture industry in the region.

The Brunei Fertilizer Industries Sdn Bhd (BFI) plant under construction
An artist’s impression of the BFI plant

The Ministry of Energy is responsible in facilitating the BFI project and is committed to ensure the sector’s contribution to local employment opportunities while enhancing the strategic economic benefits to the country. In 2018, the ministry has issued the Bruneianisation directives as part of its strategic plan to ensure that Bruneians are leading and driving the oil and gas industry. The aspiration of the directive is to achieve a minimum of 90 per cent Bruneianisation at all levels and skill-pools in each company in the oil and gas industry. In line with this directive, BFI is committed to offer individuals a solid platform to learn from international experts in efforts to further enhance their knowledge and skills in the global markets.

As a part of BFI’s commitment in developing local talents, 161 trainees had undergone various programmes under BFI’s operation and maintenance training programme at Institut Teknologi Petroleum Petronas (INSTEP) in Terengganu; ASEAN Bintulu Fertilizer in Bintulu; Petronas Chemicals Fertiliser in Kedah; and Gas Processing Plant Utilities in Kertih. These trainees are being assigned at the BFI plant for hands-on training in different disciplines comprising operations, maintenance, safety and laboratory to complete their 12 months training programme.

The trainees are being mentored and trained by BFI industry experts to inculcate their know-how on the technical aspects of the plant such as process, functions and its equipment. The trainees will be offered full-time employment with BFI upon completion of the training programme. In supporting the country’s local talent in technical and non-technical fields, BFI also recruited 16 i-Ready trainees in 2018 and 2019 who are now full-time employees at BFI.

As of August 2020, BFI’s current workforce stands at 357, consisting of experienced professionals from the industry and trainees. BFI is targetting 500 direct employment opportunities during its first year of operation, of which 70 per cent of the workforce will be locals. The BFI project will also present opportunities for local contractors and micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) through the provision of support services in the area of construction, maintenance, transport, logistics, catering and accommodation.