Awang Tengah: Sarawak’s natural gas and crude reserves exported with little value added

Sarawak enters into partnership with Singapore-headquartered global consultancy Surbana Jurong to study the development of Industrial Terminals

KUCHING, Sept 29: Sarawak’s substantial hydrocarbon resources such as its natural gas and crude reserves have been exported, with little value added for the state, Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hasan said.

Acknowledging this, Awang Tengah who is also the Minister of International Trade and Industry, Industrial Terminal and Entrepreneur Development (MINTRED) and Second Minister for Urban Development and Natural Resources disclosed that 54 per cent of Malaysia’s natural gas reserves and 29 per cent of the national crude reserves came from the State.

“When Sarawak discovered oil in Miri back in 1910 or some 111 years ago, that spurred the development of the oil and gas industry. There is no doubt that exports of these resources have generated much income for the state, but more downstream value added activities can be done in Sarawak so that these resources can create greater value for the State.

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“The current industrial developments of Sarawak may need to be reviewed to adjust to the changing global demand. It is important to realign and chart new strategies for our oil and gas downstream development in line with our post Covid-19 development strategy (PCDS) 2030 to achieve high income status by 2030,” Awang Tengah said during the virtual signing ceremony to study on industrial transformation plan between MINTRED and Surbana Jurong Infrastructure Pte Ltd, Singapore.

Calling it timely for Sarawak to conduct a Master Plan study to transform the downstream petrochemical industry, he believed that with Surbana Jurong’s expertise, they will be able to come up with comprehensive strategies for the development of the downstream petrochemical industry in Sarawak.

The study will take approximately 18 months where Surbana Jurong with take on both green and brown field industrial sites with the aim of helping MINTRED transition to renewable energy alternatives, hydrogen, carbon capture, utilisation and storage as it takes steps to decarbonise.

Despite the Covid-19 pandemic, Awang Tengah disclosed that Sarawak attracted the second highest investment in Malaysia totaling RM15.7 billion last year.

“Investors are keen to seek out opportunities in Sarawak as we continue to attract interests from China and Australia. While the world is gradually moving towards green investment, the oil and gas sector particularly non-fuel downstream petrochemical activities remain vital for industrial growth,” he asserted.

Meanwhile, the Agreement was signed by MINTRED Sarawak permanent secretary Datu Liaw Soon Eng and Surbana Jurong Group CEO Yeo Choon Chong, witnessed by Awang Tengah and Subana Jurong group CEO Wong Heang Fine. — DayakDaily

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