(EnergyAsia, May 21 2012, Monday) — Japanese trading house Itochu Corp and Thai state-owned PTT Global Chemical Public Company have agreed to invest in petrochemical projects in Malaysia’s southern state of Johor.

In a statement, Malaysian state energy company Petronas said it has signed Heads of Agreement (HOAs) with the two companies to form separate petrochemical joint ventures within the proposed RM60 billion Refinery and Petrochemical Integrated Development (RAPID) complex in Pengerang town. (US$1=RM3.05).

Petronas said it will be the majority equity holder in the proposed joint ventures to own, develop, construct and operate two separate complexes for the production of high value-added downstream chemicals.

At the signing ceremony last week, Petronas was represented by its chief operating officer, Wan Zulkiflee Wan Ariffin, who is also the executive vice president (downstream business). Itochu was represented by the president of its energy and chemicals company, Yuji Fukuda while PTT Global Chemical was represented by CEO Anon Sirisaengtaksin.

With these two new investors, Petronas has signed three heads of agreements to date for the RAPID project. Germany’s BASF was the first signatory with its decision to invest in a specialty chemicals complex.

According to Petronas, RAPID will be Malaysia’s largest oil-petrochemicals downstream undertaking, comprising a 300,000 b/d refinery and a petrochemical complex.