SPG wants more S’wakians involved in oil & gas industry

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PETALING JAYA: The Suarah Petroleum Group (SPG) is standing firmly behind Sarawak Chief Minister Adenan Satem in pushing for greater Sarawakian participation in the petroleum industry in the state.

Made up of Sarawakian oil and gas professionals, SPG said that while they acknowledged that the State Secretary has been recently nominated to sit on Petronas’s Board of Directors, more should be done.

“…SPG firmly believes that it is high time the State’s petroleum resources be developed by its own petroleum corporation, to ensure that the Chief Minister’s vision of meaningful participation becomes a reality,” it said in an article by the group’s Education, Leadership and Talent Development Bureau, entitled “A Short History of Petroleum in Sarawak.”

SPG argued that there was enough local and global talent in the state to successfully operate and manage the petroleum industry and added, “At the same time, this will allow Sarawak to develop its own ‘Talent Pipeline’ to ensure the sustainable growth and progress of the industry in the state and for the nation.”

In the article, SPG traced Sarawak’s history of its first sighting of petroleum in the 11th century to the present day and how the Petroleum Development Act 1974 (PDA) that involved the setting-up of Petronas, led to the current state of affairs in Sarawak.

“With this Act, Sarawak’s entire petroleum resources was appropriated by the federal government for a mere 5 per cent annual cash payment in the upstream value-chain,” SPG wrote, adding that despite the flourishing of mid-stream and downstream businesses, Sarawak continued to received only a “minimal revenue.”

“Ironically, Sarawak, with 46 per cent of the nation’s gas reserves and 23 per cent of its oil reserves; has become the state with the third highest rate of poverty in Malaysia, with 40 per cent of Sarawak households earning below RM312 per capita per month,” it added, citing a Parliamentary reply by Prime Minister Najib Razak on June 12, 2012.

It pointed out that in contrast, Petronas had grown to become the 75th largest and 12th most profitable corporation in the world, and the most profitable in Asia, something that has created dissatisfaction among Sarawakians over the company’s policies and practices.

“It (Petronas) is now in the unenviable position where it needs to prove its current relevancy, abilities and commitment to provide a better value-proposition to the States that have ‘vested’ their oil and gas resources to support its formation, and ongoing operations,” SPG said.

It added, “As Petronas is coming to realise after 42 years, receiving these oil and gas assets for free is one thing; but living up to the legitimate expectations of the people of the State is another matter altogether.”