Aggressive but responsible exploitation of oil and gas resources will help state expand economy, says Abang Jo

KUCHING: Sarawak needs to exploit its oil and gas resources aggressively but responsibly to expand its economy towards becoming a high-income state by 2030, says Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg.

The Sarawak Premier said this was necessary for the state to shake off the tag of being “rich but poor”.

“Put simply, our oil and gas resources have not been developed in such a manner as to give enough benefits to our people,” he said at the state-owned Petroleum Sarawak Bhd’s (Petros) fifth anniversary celebration here on Wednesday (Oct 19) night.

Abang Johari said Petros was incorporated in 2017 to become a flagship of Sarawak’s meaningful participation in the orderly exploitation of the state’s oil and gas resources, at the same time safeguarding the interests of Sarawak and its resources.

He said Petros was entrusted with the task of furthering Sarawak’s cause, including negotiating the details of the state’s commercial position with Petronas.

“This culminated in the signing of the commercial settlement agreement between PETRONAS and Petros in December 2020.

“The agreement included Sarawak’s equity participation in offshore operations and the assurance that 25% of the state’s gas is prioritised for Sarawak’s domestic needs,” he said.

Abang Johari also said Petros had grown to become a billion-ringgit company, achieving a revenue of RM1.2bil last year.

He said Petros currently had three production sharing contracts (PSC) for offshore production and another three PSCs for offshore exploration.

“In the onshore exploration and production space, Petros remains as regulator but also with participating interest through its subsidiary Petroleum Sarawak Exploration and Production in the existing Block SK433 located in Miri-Baram area,” he added.

Abang Johari also said Petros would be the resource manager for Sarawak’s carbon capture utilisation and storage (CCUS) industry.

“The CCUS industry will promote the development of the state’s massive sour gas reserves, which contains carbon dioxide, to secure long-term energy security for the state, create more domestic jobs through the green industry and provide another revenue source to Sarawak,” he said.

In this respect, he said PETRONAS had signed a CCUS joint collaboration agreement with Petros as a first step towards enabling the green economy.

“As part of the energy transition, we are also positioning Sarawak to become a hydrogen-producing hub in the region, and this will complement the later phase of this plan,” Abang Johari added.