Premier: Sarawak may no longer need to look for oil offshore or onshore

Abang Johari (fifth left) and others photographed at Showcase of Use of Sarawak’s SAF in an Airbus A220-300 in Langkawi on May 22, 2023. Photo: Office of Premier of Sarawak (OPS)

By Nur Ashikin Louis

KUCHING, May 22: Sarawak may no longer need to look for oil offshore or onshore, says Premier Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg.

This came following Sarawak’s success in making the world’s first sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) from algae.


He said the Sarawak government has plans to scale up the cultivation to 1,000 acres that can produce about 500,000 tons per annum of crude algae oil or renewable oil, according to scientists.

That can be equated to about 10,000 barrels of oil per day with about 37 per cent extraction rate of crude algae oil from the algae.

“This may mean we no longer have to look for oil offshore or onshore, and we can have our ‘farmers’ grow oil more sustainably.

“The unit cost per barrel is below USD50, and today if sold to a biorefinery it might fetch around USD110 per barrel because it’s green oil,” he said at the Showcase of Use of Sarawak’s SAF in an Airbus A220-300 in Langkawi here today.

Abang Johari further shared his next vision for producing the new sustainable green fuel, where algae cultivation would become the new upstream business.

“The cultivation and extraction of algae will be our new upstream business, and the crude algae oil refining into SAF will be the new downstream business. Both are important to make this overall supply chain take off and attract investors and buyers.

“I believe many players will come to Sarawak and invest in this new green fuel business, and I sincerely welcome them to be part of the ‘Green Hub’ family,” he said, adding that this is in line with Post Covid-19 Development Strategy (PCDS) 2030.

He also said besides the production of SAF, the algae could be made into different types of food and therapeutic products, while the biomass can be used for fish food, fertiliser, paper and pulp, and also bio-coal.

He went on to say that algae need carbon dioxide (CO2) to grow and produce oil, with past research showing that 1kg of crude algae oil can consume 2kg of CO2.

“That means for 1,000 acres of algae farm producing more than 500,000 tons of crude algae oil, the algae will need 1,000,000 tons of CO2 every year to grow.

“This means algae is a carbon capture and storage potential which offers Sarawak yet a new source of revenue by trading ‘physically’ carbon according to international protocol,” he emphasised.

At the same event, Abang Johari witnessed the signing of a tripartite memorandum of understanding (MOU) involving SEDC Energy, Petroliam Nasional Berhad (Petronas), and Amic. — DayakDaily