Chong: Petronas still selling rights over Sarawak’s oil and gas fields, despite Abang Jo’s claims

Chong Chieng Jen

KUCHING, April 14: Sarawak Barisan Nasional (BN) is only blowing hot air about “getting full control of oil and gas in Sarawak” as Petronas is continuing to sell the rights to exploit gas fields in Sarawak to third parties, said Sarawak Pakatan Harapan (PH) chairman Chong Chieng Jen.

Referring to an official announcement made on April 11 that Sapura Energy Bhd has the rights to develop gas field SK408 from Petronas, Chong said that the announcement and the continued selling of rights of gas fields by Petronas is a slap to the face of Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg’s purported claim of full regulatory power over the state’s oil and gas industry.

The news by Bernama which was carried on the portal of a national daily stated Sapura Exploration and Production (Sarawak) Inc (Sapura E&P), a wholly-owned subsidiary of Sapura Energy Bhd, will develop the SK408 block comprising the Gorek, Larak, and Bakong gas fields offshore Sarawak together with its partners, Petronas Carigali Sdn Bhd and Sarawak Shell Bhd.

Sapura Energy said it had taken the final investment decision (FID) to develop Phase 1 of the SK408 Production Sharing Contract following field development plan approval from Petronas and the signing of key terms to a gas sales agreement.

“The Sarawak state government or its wholly-owned company, Petros (Petroleum Sarawak Berhad), is not even privy to the agreement signed by Sapura and Petronas,” Chong, who is also state Democratic Action Party (DAP) chairman and Kota Sentosa assemblyman, pointed out in a press statement today.

“This only goes to prove that, notwithstanding Abang Jo’s self-proclaimed unconstitutionality of the Petroleum Development Act 1974, the Act still continues to validly and legally vest all the ownership over oil and gas found in Sarawak in Petronas and the Sarawak government still remains entitled only to the meagre 5 per cent royalty on the oil and gas extracted,” he added.

Chong called upon Abang Johari to stop fooling the people of Sarawak.

He said that PH has agreed to return 20 per cent of oil and gas royalties to Sarawak and that is almost the maximum that any oil company can make out of the production of oil and gas.

“In other words, the 20 per cent oil and gas royalties offered is practically giving to Sarawak all the profit there is in the production of oil and gas.

“The offer was also put into an agreement signed by PH who offers the same for the Sarawak state government to sign and agree,” he said, referring to the New Deal Agreement which the state Opposition alliance is expecting state BN to sign this week.

“If Abang Jo truly has the interest of the people of Sarawak at heart, he will sign the Agreement without any hesitation, instead of beating around the bush with (Prime Minister Datuk Seri) Najib (Tun Razak) and UMNO (United Malays National Organisation),” he added. — DayakDaily