Block sale of gas stake, PKR tells Sarawak

See-Chee-How-petronas-sarawakPETALING JAYA: PKR has told the Sarawak government to take Petronas to court if it’s true that the company is selling off a stake in an upstream gas project.

Reacting to a fresh report that Petronas was seeking to sell the SK316 offshore gas block, Sarawak PKR vice-chairman See Chee How said oil and gas found within Sarawak’s boundaries belonged to the state.

Recently, Reuters, quoting sources, reported that Petronas had started pitching the sale of the block for an estimated US$1 billion (RM4.4 billion). The potential bidders, according to the report, include Royal Dutch Shell, ExxonMobil Corp, PTT Exploration and Production and Japanese firms.

“The rights of the state are very clear, be it in the Federal Constitution or Sarawak laws,” said See, who is a lawyer.

“Sarawak has the rights over oil and gas in the state. These resources are considered part of Sarawak’s land, which makes it a state matter. We’ve been mining oil in Sarawak since 1910.”

He said these rights were temporarily taken away after an emergency was declared following the May 1969 riots. The emergency was lifted in 2011.

After that, he added, the controversial Territorial Sea Act of 2012 curtailed the state’s rights to its resources. He said this was something that former chief minister Adenan Satem fought against.

He urged Chief Minister Abang Johari Openg to continue with his predecessor’s fight.

“The laws are there. Our rights are clear. All the state has to do is to fight for our rights. I’ve said before that if Petronas wants to sell SK316, the state must be consulted and the state must be given the first choice to buy it.”

If Petronas was selling SK316 to another oil company without going through the state government, the state could block the sale by court action, he said.

In February, after reports first surfaced that Petronas was seeking to sell a 49% stake in SK316, See urged Abang Johari to ensure that the state would acquire it. At the time, Petronas denied that it was selling the stake.

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Tags: FMT, KL, Malaysia, Petronas, SK316, See Chee How