Relocating Petronas refinery from Bintulu to Kimanis is ‘financial suicide’ — Wan Junaidi

Dato Sri Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar

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KUCHING, Jan 6: Santubong MP Datuk Seri Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar strongly objects to the notion of the Petronas refinery in Bintulu being moved to Kimanis, terming it as “financial suicide”.

He raised the question whether it would serve the nation and Petronas a purpose to start a new refinery and port elsewhere.

“Under the present oil and gas market and climate change pressure, is it a proper business decision for Petronas to spend the much needed fund for the nation and the impending negotiation with the two states of Sarawak and Sabah, or to think of relocating the refinery because of political ego, whim and ill-considered proposition by politicians? I guess not.

“If Petronas and the federal government were to listen to the proposition like what Datuk Karim Bujang suggested, might as well Petronas give the fund to develop gas-related distribution in Sabah.

“Perhaps, it will give better returns to local entrepreneurs and benefit greater number of people in Sabah, but to relocate the refinery and creating new port and other related infrastructure is bordering on financial suicidal and uncommercial-like decision,” said Wan Junaidi in a statement today.

He was responding to Datuk Karim Bujang’s suggestion on Jan 5, that Petronas build a processing plant in Kimanis instead of sending raw materials to Bintulu, Sarawak, for processing.

Karim, who is the Parti Warisan Sabah candidate for the Kimanis by-election, said Sabah Oil and Gas Terminal (SOGT) in Kimanis had been sending huge amounts of oil and gas to be processed in Bintulu.

“There is some leftover here and maybe we can discuss with Petronas to have them set up a processing plant in Kimanis so that we can provide jobs for the Kimanis people,” he was quoted as saying in the Star Online yesterday.

In this regards, Wan Junaidi advised Karim to come up with a better suggestion.

There are much better and logical proposals then the possibility of developing another refinery or the relocation of the present one to Kimanis, he pointed out.

Wan Junaidi said Petronas had just dished out RM82 billion to the federal government and none had been shared with Sarawak.

“I do not know whether the Ministry of Finance gives any to Sabah. How Petronas is going to get more money, if not at the expense of Sarawak and Sabah rights to the fund, to build refinery and related gas refinery infrastructure in Kimanis or any part of Sabah for that matter.

“Furthermore, it takes years of study, billions of ringgit to build a new gas refinery. Petronas should and could not do that,” opined Wan Junaidi, while reminding that oil mining in Sarawak pre-existed Malaysia.

“The Sarawak oil industry started during the (Rajah) James Brooke era until colonial time when the large gas field discovery at Luconia Region off-shore Bintulu by the Shell Exploration and Studies in 1950 and 1960.

“This was done pre-Malaysia and before Petroleum Development Act 1974. That was why Sarawak enacted the Oil Mining Ordinance 1958 to regulate the oil and gas industry in the state.

“This discovery of the large gas field in Luconia Bintulu paved the way for the Petronas to build the biggest Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) Complex in Bintulu in 1979, which was said to be the biggest in the world then,” he continued.

Wan Junaidi said in 2013, a study was conducted and it was found that Malaysia has 4 billion barrels of gas reserves (which was mostly found in the Luconia Region of the Bintulu Gas field), which is the fifth largest in Asia-Pacific Region.

“This made the gas refinery in Bintulu strategic and the decision to continue maintaining the multi-million ringgit refinery in Bintulu is a proper commercial and business decision.

“The development of refinery over the years has seen the consequential development of the Bintulu Port, because one could not have the refinery without the port to facilitate export and transportation,” said Wan Junaidi. — DayakDaily