Be firm with Petronas on Sarawak’s share, Abang Johari urged

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KUCHING: Chief Minister Abang Johari Openg should be firm with Petronas that it must consult Sarawak when deciding on its onshore and offshore blocks of oil and gas, Batu Lintang assemblyman See Chee How said.

See, the state PKR vice chairman, also urged the state government to consider investing in and taking ownership of the development of the petroleum resources within Sarawak’s territorial boundary.

The Borneo Post quoted See as saying it was unacceptable for Petronas to continue ignoring Sarawak’s assertion of rights to resources within the state’s territorial boundary.

“I am seriously contemplating to move a private member’s motion on this matter at the coming Sarawak State Assembly sitting scheduled from May 11 to 22, and I am hopeful that my fellow ADUNs (state assemblypersons) will be supportive of it, to take another important step towards fulfilling Tan Sri Adenan Satem’s, and all Sarawakians’, aspiration that Sarawak’s inherent sovereign and autonomous powers be respected by the Federation.”

The late Adenan, as chief minister, had fought hard with the federal government for greater autonomy and the return of Sarawak’s rights, including over oil and gas reserves within its territory.

See told The Borneo Post, despite Petronas’ denial two months ago and yesterday that it planned to sell its stake in the SK316 upstream gas project within the territorial waters of Sarawak, the details revealed by Reuters were credible.

Two days ago, Reuters reported that Petronas had pitched an estimated US$1 billion stake in the SK316 gas project to potential bidders, including Royal Dutch Shell, ExxonMobil Corp, Thailand’s PTT Exploration and Production and Japanese firms.

See said: “Whether it is selling a portion of its stake or looking for a partner in the development of the oil and gas fields onshore or offshore of Sarawak, the rights and interests of Sarawak should not be overlooked. Sarawak should always be thought of as its associate and partner.”

Petronas, he told The Borneo Post, should have the courtesy to consult the state administration. Sarawak, he added, should be given the option to acquire all or part of the stake that Petronas proposed to sell.

“The prospect of investing and taking ownership of a stake in SK316 is certainly in line with the seven-point agreement reached between the state government with Petronas, whereby Petronas will help to facilitate Sarawak’s direct participation in Production Sharing Contracts and to derive benefits therefrom.”

See hoped State Secretary Mohamad Morshidi Abdul Ghani, who has been appointed to the Petronas board of directors to represent Sarawak, would prepare a report for the Sarawak Legislative Assembly on his accomplishments over the last six months.

See said the government must be vigilant and firm to ensure that the state administration was not bypassed again when decisions affecting Sarawak and its resources were made.