Balance Key To Mutual Benefit

Date : 15 April 2019     Source : The Borneo Post Online

MIRI: The Sarawak government, through Petroleum Sarawak Berhad (Petros), will work closely with established oil and gas players such as Petronas and Shell to ensure that the state’s resources are managed effectively to benefit the people and the economy.

Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg stressed that although Sarawak has the right over its natural resources, it may not necessarily have the experience to manage it independently.

“We are still dependent on established oil and gas establishments. It is important to note that even though we have the resources, it is nothing if we cannot manage it properly.

“Therefore, there must be a balance in our approach and in order to get the benefit, we must work and share the benefit with established players,” he said in his opening address at the Sarawak Oil and Gas Seminar and Exhibition (SOGSE), here yesterday.

Pointing out the importance of sharing data in the industry, Abang Johari said doing so would do more good as it would be a win-win situation for all players.

“Back in 1988, I was told that Sarawak’s oil and gas reserves would last only two more decades before it dried up. But it is now 2019, and I am still here. Up until today, I am sceptical of (the actual amount of) our oil reserves.

“The drilling activity is still going on. It proves that the seismic data I was told back then might not be correct, or possibly because they (industry players) were not willing to share with us.”

The chief minister added that Petros, formed within the framework of Sarawak’s legal position, is playing a huge role in upstream and downstream activities.

“With the seismic data that we are able to retrieve from international profile, we’ll need experienced and professional people to analyse these data.

“That is why we need Petros, which comprises experienced and professional people, so that they can talk to their counterparts. We need the correct data because the future of the industry is based on correct data.”

Abang Johari also pointed out that after exercising Sarawak’s legal rights and executing its part in upstream and downstream activities, it is equally important to add value to these activities – through technology and human upscaling.

“The demand for crude oil is declining due to the increasing demand for clean energy. Therefore, there is a need to produce hydro energy and other derivatives from organic resources, in order to sustain the economy,” he said.

Abang Johari assured that the Sarawak government is committed to making sure Sarawak gets its share from its natural resources.

“If we are talking about our Constitution, we have to be very careful. That was why we (Gabungan Parti Sarawak MPs) abstained during the vote to amend the Federal Constitution. It is not because we felt like it, but because we wanted to make sure that the spirit and content of the Malaysia Agreement 1963 is complied with.”

He reiterated that there are four areas that cannot be negotiated – land, immigration autonomy, rights on land resources, and the state’s boundary.

“These cannot be negotiated for as long as GPS is in Sarawak, because the people’s interest is above all.”

Meanwhile, Sogse 2019 – participated by 20 oil and gas contractor companies – drafted seven resolutions and proposed action plans for the Sarawak government.

On the resolutions, Abang Johari pledged that he would bring the resolutions to the coming State Cabinet meeting and that they would discuss them during the coming State Legislative Assembly sitting.

Also present at the opening ceremony were Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hasan; State Secretary Tan Sri Datuk Amar Mohamad Morshidi Abdul Ghani; Assistant Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture Datuk Lee Kim Shin; Petra Jaya MP Datuk Seri Fadillah Yusof; Piasau assemblyman Datuk Sebastian Ting; Sarawak Bumiputera Chamber of Entrepreneurs (DUBS) president Datu Abang Helmi Ikhwan, and organising chairman Kadier Sahib who is also DUBS vice president.