Premier lauds Shell MDS for making world’s first gas-derived butter

Abang Johari delivers his speech at the ‘Shell MDS Malaysia Celebration Dinner of 30 Years Anniversary and the Global Launch of Shell GTL Microcrystalline Waxes’ event at a hotel in Kuching on July 10, 2024. Photo credit: Sarawak Public Communications Unit

By Ashley Sim

KUCHING, July 10: Sarawak Premier Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg has commended Shell Middle Distillate Synthesis (MDS) for producing the world’s first butter synthesised from gas, a significant step forward in food technology and industrial development.

Abang Johari highlighted that the butter, a product derived from high-quality wax, underscores the versatility of gas-to-liquid (GTL) technology and its potential to revolutionise various sectors, including food production.


“It is momentous because Shell MDS is producing the world’s first butter synthesised from gas.

“Once certified internationally, this gas-derived butter can benefit the food industry. And my minister sitting there said, ‘At least we have our own butter here now, producing fat from gas’,” he said when delivering his speech at the ‘Shell MDS Malaysia Celebration Dinner of 30 Years Anniversary and the Global Launch of Shell GTL Microcrystalline Waxes’ event held tonight at a local hotel here.

The Premier also reminisced about his first encounter with Shell’s GTL technology in 1988, when he was the Minister of Industrial Development.

He recalled being briefed by a Chinese-Indonesian engineer on the transformative potential of converting gas into various products, including high-quality wax.

“Actually, wax was popular at the time. It was high-quality wax. So, upon my return, I informed my boss, the late Dato Taib (Pehin Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud), that Shell has implemented a new process. From gas to liquid, they call it the ‘distillate synthesis process’ to produce other products,” he explained, adding that the early interaction laid the groundwork for Sarawak’s collaboration with Shell, which resulted in the establishment of the world’s first synthesis plant in Bintulu.

Abang Johari further emphasised the importance of gas as a feedstock for the petrochemical industry, which in turn generates jobs and stimulates economic growth.

He also highlighted the formation of Petroleum Sarawak Berhad (Petros), Sarawak’s own oil and gas company, aimed at ensuring active local participation in the sector.

“Shell has been with us since 1910. And we are still partners to this day. So the Sarawak government will remain your partner in the future. Of course, we have new players, including the national oil company, as a partner. Perhaps in the queue.

“As you know, today we found another gas field, perhaps tomorrow or day after tomorrow, year after year, we may find another field,” he added.

Additionally, Abang Johari touched on Sarawak’s efforts to explore alternative energy sources, reflecting a global shift towards sustainability.

He noted that discussions at the recent COP28 conference in Dubai centred on the diminishing role of fossil fuels and the increasing importance of renewable energy.

He reiterated Sarawak’s commitment to research and development in alternative energy, leveraging its natural resources to remain competitive in this new era.

Meanwhile, Siti Sulaiman, Shell Malaysia Country Chair and Senior Vice President Upstream Malaysia, shared about how GTL technology found its way into the world of gastronomy.

“We will continue to work with industry experts and startups to push the boundary of GTL innovation.

“Expanding into unconventional applications such as in the food industries for carbon footprint benefits where we have ‘Savor’ from the United States (which) successfully found the recipe to produce butter entirely from GTL Sarawax,” she said during her speech.

“And to really test this GTL butter, we engaged one of our Shell LiveWIRE recipients, Gombi Patisserie, a home baker in Kuching to bake cookies from it.” — DayakDaily