Petros-Petronas project to get licence soon to turn depleted oil field offshore into carbon storage site

Abang Johari delivering his ministerial winding-up speech at the DUN sitting on Dec 1, 2022. Screenshot taken from a Sarawak Public Communications Unit (Ukas) Facebook livestream.

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By Karen Bong

KUCHING, Dec 1: Petroleum Sarawak Berhad (Petros) and Petroliam Nasional Berhad (Petronas) are jointly working to begin work to develop a depleted oilfield off the coast of Sarawak to store captured carbon dioxide (CO2) from an adjacent oil producing field.

The licence is expected to be issued as soon as the new rules on carbon storage are gazetted in early 2023.

Premier of Sarawak Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg emphasised that depleted or abandoned petroleum fields in offshore areas are suitable to be developed into sites for secured, permanent storage of CO2 captured by oil and gas companies who now have obligations to reduce emission of CO2 into the atmosphere.

“The captured and stored CO2 can be used for making hydrogen (H2), blue ammonia, biofuels and other products, thereby providing a platform for the sustained development of the carbon capture utilisation and storage (CCUS) industry in Sarawak apart from the generation of carbon credits and a new source of revenue for Sarawak.

“The future of this new industry for Sarawak is bright, and is also another revenue generation (method) for Sarawak via the imposition of carbon storage levies.

“It is also estimated that more than 10,000 new, clean jobs for this industry would be created before 2030,” he told the Sarawak Legislative Assembly (DUN) sitting when delivering his winding-up speech here today.

Through leveraging on key resources, Abang Johari reiterated, Sarawak has the biggest carbon storage capacity in offshore areas due to its stable geological formations where it is estimated that Sarawak has 30 trillion cubic metres of carbon storage capacity in the seabed of its continental shelf.

This is such a welcomed initiative, he said, as Petronas Carigali Sdn Bhd has recently reached the final investment decision (FID) for the development of the Kasawari CO2 Sequestration (CCS) project off Bintulu and is expected to reduce CO2 volume emitted by 3.3 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent annually, making it one of the largest offshore CCS projects in the world.

“Additionally, reputable companies in Singapore, Korea and Japan have also shown keen interests in participating and investing in CCUS in Sarawak and in the transboundary transportation of captured CO2 from these countries for safe storage in offshore Sarawak,” he said.

Abang Johari, who is also Minister of Finance and New Economy, also revealed that the first hydrogen production plant in Sarawak is at the Front-End-Engineering Design (FEED) stage.

This plant, he said, is expected to produce 630,000 metric tonnes of green ammonia, 600,000 metric tonnes of blue ammonia, 220,000 metric tonnes of green hydrogen, of which 7,000 metric tonnes will be for domestic use and the rest will be exported.

“This forms the base for the development of our hydrogen economy value chain in Sarawak.

“I am convinced that the use of hydrogen energy in a broad range of fields, including mobility, commercial, industrial and energy storage, as well as feedstock for various chemical processes, will help realise a cleaner and more sustainable society for Sarawak.

“Our initiative to produce hydrogen fuel locally will support our agenda for the development of the hydrogen economy in Sarawak,” he added. — DayakDaily