KUCHING, Dec 24: Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg owes it to the people of Sarawak to properly clarify the role of the recently established state-owned offshore oil and gas exploration company Petros as well as his recent declaration in the State Legistative Assembly to exert the state’s mining rights
Dr Kelvin Yii, who is the special assistant to State Democratic Action Party (DAP) chairman Chong Chieng Jen said this is in view of the recent deal by Petroliam Nasional Berhad (Petronas) to award Japan’s JX Nippon Oil & Gas Exploration the oil and gas rights for the Beryl gas field off the coast of Miri.
It is reported that the peak production of natural gas from Beryl is estimated to be around 140 million standard cubic feet per day — equivalent to 23,000 boed (barrels of oil equivalent) a day.
“This is an embarrassment to the BN state government as it happened under their nose even with all the fiery speeches and empty promises. Our resources are being exploited again at the expense of our rights, and yet there was little to no objection from the state BN government even after “strong words” and “fiery speeches” have been made regarding our rights,” said Yii.
It was only in June 2017, when Abang Johari told the public that Petros was to be set up to work with national and gas company Petronas to conduct explorations for fuel resources within the state’s territorial waters.
“However, since then, little has been done to exert rights on our resources besides the registration and setting up of a company. Now, the rights for oil and gas have been given to a foreign company over our resources, rather than the said state-owned Petros that was said to propel us into the position to harness our own resources,” Yii added.
Yii also asked Abang Johari if there was prior consultation with the state on such a matter and did the state exert its mining rights over its resources and what benefit, or profit will the state get out from this deal.
“Will it be the same mere 5 per cent of oil royalty?”
He also asked Abang Johari to clarify the real function of Petros.
“Will it be redundant if in the end, Sarawak actually does not obtain any percentage of stakes in any oil and gas fields that is operating within Sarawak waters?
“The people of Sarawak shouldn’t be misled on the purpose of the setting up of Petros if it is like a “tiger that has no bite”. Will it just be a company set up as a political tool to mislead people into thinking we have rights over our resources even though we actually do not?
“The Barisan Nasional government has constantly sounded slogans and propaganda on securing and safeguarding our rights over our oil and gas resources but yet has little or nothing to show to the people of Sarawak,” Yii lamented.
“Even securing 20 per cent oil royalty from the Federal government seems like a faraway dream.” — DayakDaily