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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs             29  July 2011

Firm to build pipeline to China

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A virtually unknown Malaysian company, PanelPoint Sdn Bhd, plans to build the first natural gas pipeline network between Asean and China worth US$100 billion.

PanelPoint, an integrated oil and gas specialist company, claimed that the group had received the consent of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak to proceed with the project, called the Trans-Asian Oil and Gas Pipeline (TAOG).

“We have already got the mandate from the Prime Minister. TAOG's primary objective is to link up gas-producing nations to gas-consuming nations within the region to ensure security and sustainability in the supply of natural gas among Asean countries and China,” said Che Nordin Ismail (pic), PanelPoint's CEO.

“This in turn is expected to facilitate better management of supply and demand, assist sustained economic development, foster stability and promote strategic co-operation among member nations,” he told reporters yesterday at the MOU signing ceremony between the group and its consortium of local and international consultants and contractors.

The group signed the MOU with Hubei Weiguang Municipal Gas Investment and Development Co. Ltd from China, PWS Manufacturing Sdn Bhd, Persatuan Kontraktor Melayu Malaysia, Asia Bolts and Nuts Group, lotus Action Sdn Bhd and Techknow Industrial Sdn Bhd.

Nordin said the 7,000 kilometer long gas pipeline project was expected to commence in six months' time, after seven years of planning.

The pipeline was planned to extend from Mersing, Johor and connect with an onshore utility platform in northern Natuna Island in Indonesia. It would then continue northbound to Ho Chin Minh City and Hanoi in Vietnam and subsequently linked to Hong Kong and Guangzhou, China.

Conversely, a pipeline would connect southbound from northern Natuna Island to Jakarta, Indonesia with smaller reticulation gas pipelines linking up other locations in the region.

“It will take roughly about 10 years to finish the project and TAOG is a privately funded project,” he said, adding that PanelPoint planned to begin official discussions with Petroliam Nasional Bhd for the gas supply in two months' time.

He added that principal funds for TAOG would be from Rochester Foundation Inc of the US with its chairman Robert Smith Sr. also a partner in PanelPoint.

Nordin said by ensuring a secure and sustained supply of natural gas to more industrialised regions in West Malaysia, especially in heavy industries, transportation and other petro-chemical related industries, the project would be expected to pull in more foreign direct investments, which would in turn stimulate the economy, generate spin-off industries, increase opportunities and create employment.

He said with huge reserves of natural gas in the region, Malaysia would become a central player in the Asean-China gas market and should position itself advantageously in anticipation of the building of the TAOG.


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This year in Thailand-what next?

AseanAffairs   04 January 2011
By David Swartzentruber      

It is commonplace in journalism to write two types of articles at the transition point between the year that has passed and the New Year. As this writer qualifies as an “old hand” in observing Thailand with a track record dating back 14 years, it is time take a shot at what may unfold in Thailand in 2011.

The first issue that can’t be answered is the health of Thailand’s beloved King Bhumibol, who is now 83 years old. He is the world's longest reigning monarch, but elaborate birthday celebrations in December failed to mask concern over his health. More


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