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Asiaflex is region's leading subsea pipe supplier
Factory near Tanjung Langsat Port is Technip’s largest in Asia Pacific
THOSE who drive towards the very end of Tanjung Langsat Port will perhaps see giant cable rolls in a huge compound of a blue-roofed factory.
Perhaps to the layman, it is just another factory set up by a foreign manufacturer. But what many do not know is that the Asiaflex Products factory is actually Paris-based multinational engineering giant Technip's largest asset in the Asia Pacific region.
The E150 million (RM607 million) facility was officially opened by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak in November 2010. It is aimed at strengthening Technip's assets in the subsea segment to cement its foothold in the flexible pipe market.
Najib had said the Asia-Pacific region has seen increased interest in deepwater development and Malaysia is already at the forefront of this development.
"Already, we are an established hub in the subsea industry and soon we will become one of the world's four deepwater oil and gas hubs, besides industry leaders such as the United States, Brazil and Europe," he said when opening the plant.
Najib said the Malaysian oil and gas industry was enjoying rapid progress and the sector is an important segment of the national economy, with upstream and downstream businesses contributing RM17 billion to the country's economy in 2009.
"Malaysia has evolved from being solely a supplier of crude oil and gas over the years to becoming a provider of equipment and services, both domestically and throughout the Asia-Pacific region," he said.
Malaysia was chosen to house the company's first Asian facility in view of Tanjung Langsat's economically viable location, which translates into better shipping routes and attractive tax incentives by Malaysian Investment Development Authority, among others.
The facility was built to cater to the growing Asia-Pacific and Middle East subsea oil and gas markets. Such plants were previously built by Technip in France and Brazil.
At the same time, Malaysia has also been selected by Technip as its export base in the region to cater to countries in Asia-Pacific.
Built on a 20ha site, the Asiaflex Products factory was developed as a one-stop hub which includes the manufacturing of flexible pipes and umbilicals, vessel mobilisation and logistics service base.
During a visit by Deputy International Trade and Industries Minister Datuk Mukhriz Mahathir recently, Technip Asia Pacific senior vice-president Edgar Pushparatnam said several more ventures were in the offing to contribute to Malaysia's foreign direct investment.
"While, Asiaflex products form a vital component in our expansion into the Asia-Pacific and Middle East region, it is also a contributor to the Malaysian economy.
"It boosts export revenue and spawns economic activities for local businesses that provide support services such as equipment maintenance, material supplies, housing, catering and cleaning, among others," said Pushparatnam in his speech during Mukhriz's visit.
He also said Asiaflex contributed to the development of Malaysian labour via skills transfer to local talents.
"This will develop quality and technically competent workforce in line with the government's objective of making Malaysia a high income nation and in becoming a fully developed nation by 2020."
Since Asiaflex Products commenced operations in Tanjung Langsat, it had received foreign orders from Australia, Brazil, Brunei, China, Indonesia, India, the Middle East and West Africa, among others.
It made its first delivery in September last year when its flexible pipes were used in an offshore project in Terengganu.