Shell Malaysia to speed its spend

Shell Malaysia chairman Jon Chadwick has revealed that the company intends to spend around US$342.2 million on upstream activities, triple its number of gas platforms and raise crude output beyond their already record levels in Malaysia.

The company currently has six gas platforms in Sarawak, which produces half of the country's total gas output. However, the proposed work that will see an increase in the number of platforms to 17 - over a period of five years - has already begun and, this increase, according to Chadwick is aimed in accommodating the Japanese, Taiwanese and South Korean markets.

Aside from the increase in gas extraction, Shell also plans to boost crude output in Sabah from the current high of 90,000 barrels per day (about 15% of the country's output) and has already expanded the capacity of its GTL plant in Bintulu to supply "ultra-clean" diesel for the Athens 2004 Olympics.

There has been one hitch in all this productivity, though. Last month's fire at the Malaysia LNG (MLNG) Tiga LNG plant - co-owned by Shell Malaysia with Petronas and Nippon Oil - has halted LNG output from the seventh and eighth production trains of the LNG complex in Bintulu, Sarawak.

Chadwick, however, was not unduly worried about the fire, its causes and consequences.

"There is a very good investigation going on about the incident and I've every confidence they will get things back up as vigorously as possible," he said.

The LNG complex in Bintulu, is collectively the world's single largest facility for gas and has a projected output of around 23 million tonnes per year. There is no word as to when the plant will resume operations.