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By Ling Hui
KUCHING, Oct 30: Oil mining leases have been issued by the Sarawak government to Petroleum Sarawak Berhad (Petros) at two blocks at Adong Kecil west in the Miri area and Engkabang area south of Marudi.
Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg, in announcing this tonight, emphasised that this signified the beginning of the state government’s efforts to exercise Sarawak’s constitutional rights to regulate oil mining under the State laws to take complete control over the exploration and production of petroleum in the onshore areas.
“The state government, through Petros, will have the control of, and legal title to, all the oil and natural gas produced from the onshore areas, and to select and appoint contractors or enter into ventures with investors to explore and produce the oil and gas from onshore Sarawak.
“The state government will have in place a fair and business-friendly regulatory framework and environment to attract investors to participate in the development of oil and gas industry,” he addressed the Sarawak Oil and Gas Industry Dinner 2020 at Pullman Hotel here today.
Abang Johari reiterated that the state government will continue to collaborate with existing industry players already operating in Sarawak including Petronas and Shell, in which the latter, will be relocating their headquarters of its Malaysian operations to Miri.
As a result of this effort, he emphasised that nearly 2,000 Shell employees will be residents in Miri.
Because of this, and the commencement of renewed exploration activities for oil and gas production in the Miri and Marudi areas, he expressed confidence that the economy of Miri will experience robust growth in the coming years.
“Assuming regulatory control of onshore mining, enforcing our constitutional authority over the distribution of gas and increasing Petros’ participation in offshore petroleum production areas, the state government will strengthen the role of Petros in spearheading the state’s enhanced involvement in the oil and gas industry especially in the downstream sectors,” he said.
The Oil Mining Ordinance (OMO) 1958, he stressed has never been repealed even during the period of the 1969 Proclamation of Emergency.
“The state government is firmly committed to regulating oil mining in the state to protect the interests and aspirations of Sarawakians,” he added during the mining lease handover ceremony to Petros chairman Tan Sri Datuk Amar Hamid Bugo.
These efforts, he continued, were geared towards securing for the state adequate natural gas supplies needed to drive the state’s industrial development agenda, including the establishment of a petrochemical hub, and gas processing plant to enhance the security of supply for Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) to meet the increasing demands for LPG in the state.
Abang Johari pointed out that all these initiatives by the state government would ensure greater opportunities for Sarawakians and Sarawak companies to participate and invest in the oil and gas industry as well as to acquire expertise, knowledge and technology that would contribute to the continued growth and development of the oil and gas industry which will contribute to the economic success of the state and of the nation.
“I am confident that Petros is ready and equipped to play its important role in advancing successfully the policies and objectives of the state government which I have mentioned.
“I ask all of you involved with the oil and gas industry to fully co-operate with Petros towards making the industry grow sustainably in a well-regulated and business-friendly environment provided by the state government,” he urged. – DailyDayak