CM to Petronas: Share resources with Sarawak to strengthen local oil and gas industry

Abang Johari speaking during the SOGSE 2019 closing ceremony in Miri this morning (April 14, 2019). - Screengrab from UKAS Facebook Live video

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MIRI, April 14: Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg is urging Petronas to share its resources in Sarawak with the state so both parties can work together in the oil and gas industry.

Abang Johari said one resource in particular that Petronas could share with Sarawak is its seismic survey data on oil and gas reserves in the state, which could be analysed as part of big data, to optimise the state’s oil and gas production.

“Now we have big data technology where we can predict the possibility of finding more oil and gas reserves without drilling here and there. This is the technology we have available today and we need experienced people to analyse this data.

“Up til today I am still skeptical with what people have said about our oil and gas reserves. I was the Minister of Industrial Development in 1988 and (with the) Shell CEO at the time Chris Knight brought me to offshore, so I asked him how much of our reserves are left. He said about 20 more years.

“Now it’s 2019 and we still have plenty of reserves. Meaning sometimes the seismic survey data is not right, or maybe there is something they do not want to share with us, including Petronas.

“Therefore we have to share data because your forecasting is based on correct data,” he said during the Sarawak Oil and Gas Seminar and Exhibition 2019 (SOGSE 2019) closing ceremony here this morning.

He said if the data is correct and there are still plenty of reserves, then the state would not mind sharing the resources with Petronas, stressing that this is the approach of the state government.

“We can negotiate with Petronas, Shell, Exxon, Murphy, and work together with them. There is a formula of 70-30 with the federal government where Petronas gets 30 per cent.

“Since Petronas is already operating in Sarawak, and we allowed that, why not Petronas Carigali share that 30 per cent with Sarawak — 15-15?” said Abang Johari.

He insisted that Sarawak is willing to share, provided that Petronas is also willing to share.

He also urged Petronas to work together with the state government to determine the right price of gas feedstock for the petrochemical industry in the state.

Abang Johari said since Sarawak is also rich in the feedstock of liquid natural gas (LNG), it is also delving into production of other petrochemical derivatives from LNG.

“At the moment, Petronas determines the price of feedstock. That is why we are negotiating with Petronas to get the right price for the economic feedstock, where we can develop our downstream activities.

“Now we are going for methanol on our own. With equity from our from our friends in Petronas, majority control by Sarawak,” said Abang Johari.

He also urged Petronas together with Petros to intensify their human resource and technology upscaling in the state.

He said if Sarawak has the technology and human resources, it would be able to offer its services including maintenance and sustainability of the oil and gas plants.

Following that, Abang Johari said, once Sarawak has the technology and human resource, it would be able to expand and invest overseas, further contributing to the state’s oil and gas industry.

“If you have that experience then you can go to where the resources are and share with the host country. Therefore what you do is upscaling of our technology and also human resource.

“If you see in Petronas, there are a lot of Sarawakians working there as overseas managers and even president. But that is not enough. At the same time we also have Sarawakians working with Shell,” he said. — DayakDaily