Sarawak to establish task force to look into legacy oil wells in Miri

Lee shows reporters a locality map of legacy oil wells in Miri. A total of 624 such wells have been identified.

By Brad Rantayy

MIRI, Sept 22: A task force will be set up to look into abandoned oil wells in this city, following the discovery of liquified oil at Canada Hill on Sept 14, says Minister for Transport Datuk Lee Kim Shin.

He said, the task force will consist of Petroleum Sarawak Berhad (Petros), Miri Resident’s Office, Sarawak Shell Berhad and Petroliam Nasional Berhad (Petronas).

“They will look into all abandoned oil wells in Miri, especially below Canada Hill, Kampung Haji Waheed and Kampung Lereng Bukit and check for any possible leaking (from abandoned wells),” he revealed.

The task force will also be responsible to locate abandoned onshore oil wells in Miri.

“Apart from identifying abandoned oil well locations, the task force also is to collect data and give recommendations for further action to the state government,” Lee said.

He made these remarks today after chairing a special meeting on liquified leaks from an onshore oil well at Canada Hill which was discovered by a group of local hikers on Sept 14.

“The liquified oil found from an onshore well at Canada Hill which created a sensation among the public…the liquified oil is leaking from the abandoned well,” Lee revealed.

For safety reasons, Shell has fenced up the surrounding area.

“The well will be properly sealed off to prevent further leaks,” Lee added.

Meanwhile, members of public have been advised not to go near the area for safety reasons.

Also present at the meeting today at the Miri Resident’s Office conference room were representatives from Shell and Petronas.

A total of 624 abandoned onshore oil wells have been identified in Miri, and most of them have been in existence for more than 100 years.

“At Canada Hill alone, we have more than 100 abandoned oil wells, including the first well drilled by Shell in 1910,” Lee disclosed.

Also present at the meeting were Assistant Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture Datuk Sebastian Ting and Miri District officer Abdul Aziz Yusof. — DayakDaily