Petronas is considering development of petrochemical plants within its US$20 bln refinery complex in the south of Malaysia, for which it is in talks with several major oil companies, including Shell and Exxon Mobil Japan's Itochu Corp and Mitsubishi, as well as Dow Chemical Company, as per Reuters. The company is expected to make a decision on any partnerships in mid-2012. Refinery and Petrochemicals Integrated Development project was announced by the oil major in May 2011, planned to be commissioned by the end of 2016. Output from the projects will cater to rising demand from Asia and is in line with the company’s plans to diversify operations. The company has initiated basic engineering and design which will be followed by the tendering process for building the complex. Currently, Petronas is on track for timely commissioning of the project. The US$20 billion complex will feature a 300,000 bpd refinery, while the petrochemical developments will include a naphtha cracker capable of producing around 3 mln tpa of ethylene, propylene and C4 and C5 olefins and along with a complex that will produce "differentiated and highly specialised chemicals.” The complex will be located in Southern Johor, chosen for its strategic location, proximity to deepwater port facilities, international shipping lanes and regional demand centres.