June 18, 2008

KNM Keen to Supply Equipment

By Kamarul Yunus

KNM GROUP Bhd, a world- class process equipment manufacturer, wants to tap business opportunities that will be generated from Petroliam Nasional Bhd's (Petronas) recent acquisition of a 40 per cent stake in Santos Ltd's liquefied natural gas (LNG) project in Gladstone, Australia.

Its chairman Datuk Mohamad Idris Mansor said the company is keen to supply process equipment for the proposed building of plants under the Gladstone LNG project.

"We will participate in the plant building rather than development of the project. They need process equipment, and we will tender to supply them," he told reporters after the company's annual general meeting in Sri Kembangan yesterday.

Last month, Petronas announced that it is paying US$2.5 billion (RM8.12 billion) or 40 per cent interest in Santos' LNG project in Gladstone. Under the agreement, a new entity will be set up which will also build and operate a 450km pipeline from jointly-owned upstream coal seam gas (CSG) assets to the project site as well as undertake all marketing activities for the project's LNG output.

Idris said KNM's subsidiary in Australia, KNM Pty Ltd, will be able to supply process equipment for the facilities in Gladstone.

"If there are opportunities for us to bid for their plant, meaning they have to build a plant to handle the project, our Australian office can definitely participate in bidding for it," he added.

Meanwhile, KNM Group managing director Lee Swee Eng said he believes KNM will have the edge to secure contracts from the Gladstone project through its recently acquired German company, Borsig.

"Borsig is very strong in this CSG area, particularly in reactors and boilers," he said.

KNM acquired Borsig this year for Euro350 million (RM1.7 billion).

Lee said KNM has not started talking to Petronas yet about the Gladstone project, and may opt instead to approach turnkey contractors appointed by the national oil company.

"We will come in very much mid-way into the project. For the early phase, Petronas will be talking to engineering consultants or turnkey contractors," he said.

He added that KNM expects to start bidding for contracts after 2010, the third year of the five-year planned period for the Gladstone project.

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