BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN – The state-owned Brunei Fertilizer Industries (BFI) has set its sights on creating 500 job opportunities, including 350 for locals during its first year of operation next year.

The urea manufacturer is expected to start commercial production in the second quarter of 2021 once construction of its $1.8 billion plant at Sungai Liang Industrial Park is completed, the Ministry of Energy said in a statement.

A total of 357 people are currently working at BFI, including trainees.

Some 161 apprentices have undergone BFI’s operation and maintenance training at Institut Teknologi Petroleum Petronas (INSTEP) in Terengganu; ASEAN Bintulu Fertilizer in Bintulu; Petronas Chemical Fertilizers in Kedah and Gas Processing and Utilities Plant in Kertih.

They will be offered full-time employment with BFI after completing the 12-month training programme.

The energy ministry had issued a directive in 2018 that requires oil and gas companies to ensure their workforce is made up of at least 90 percent Bruneians.

BFI had said Bruneians will fill 66 percent of its jobs in the initial stage of its operations.

Employees at the site of Brunei Fertilizer Industries plant in the Sungai Liang Industrial Park. Photo: Courtesy of Ministry of Energy

In 2018 and 2019, BFI also recruited 16 i-Ready trainees who have been offered permanent jobs.

Set to become one of the largest fertiliser plants in Southeast Asia, BFI plans to export to the agriculture industry in the region.

The plant will have a daily production capacity of 2,200 metric tonnes of ammonia, which will be processed to produce granular urea fertilizer at 3,900 metric tonnes per day.

German multinational conglomerate thyssenkrupp AG’s Industrial Solutions (tkIS) had signed a contract in 2018 to build the plant on a 55-hectare site.

The fertiliser plant is one of the two largest downstream oil and gas projects in Brunei, alongside Hengyi Industries’ refinery and petrochemical plant at Pulau Muara Besar.

The energy ministry, which is facilitating the BFI project, said the large-scale investment will further create spin-off opportunities for micro, small and medium enterprises in construction, maintenance, transport, logistics, catering and accommodation.