Energy Investment Blazes Ahead in Asia
Hin Leong, Chairman and Founder of Hin Leong Group, is blazing ahead with ambitious investments into some of Asia’s frontier markets.
“East Timor, China, Indonesia, Myanmar, they all need oil for their development. The industry has already been providing them with these things, but now they need more and we need to think how better to serve them.
“For example, in East Timor, we provided oil to them for a long time. Now they’ve built more power plants, more new industry, so we plan to use ships to deliver oil to them. In Indonesia, the government’s had a policy of not letting us in, but now they’re more open, they let us deal with suppliers and customers more directly. Myanmar and China are the same.
“In East Timor, we want to build a storage base for different kinds of oil with a capacity of about 200,000 to 300,000 metric tons, investing about $200 million to $300 million. If things move quickly, it could be built in about one year. It depends on the approval process; once it’s approved, then we can start. We’ve already started planning basic things like looking for a site and the design is already underway.
“We’ve also provided oil to Myanmar for a very long time. A lot of businesses entered Myanmar after it opened its doors, so its oil demand is rising very fast. They need a more stable supply. Our plan is 300,000 to 600,000 cubic meters of storage for four different kinds of oil. It all depends on the situation, we’ll proceed in phases. It’s a big country, with a population of 60 million. Once their policies are more open a lot of business will emerge and demand will increase quickly. Myanmar has abundant natural resources.
“In China, we’ve been waiting for approval for two years. The process for projects along the coast is a bit complicated because of environmental and other issues. It needs to get approval from Beijing so it takes a long time.
“We do consider political risks in East Timor, Indonesia and China. But they look relatively safe, it may take a long time to get approvals but it’s not like there is war. It may look risky from an investor point of view but it’s not. It just takes time.
“We don’t invest money during the approval process so we don’t have much to lose. Once a project is approved, we can start oil supply in one to two years, and the plant is an asset to the company. If one day we need to sell it or someone wants to buy it, it’s an asset that will have appreciated.”