GPS won’t compromise on state’s rights over its O&G: Chief Minister
MIRI: As long as Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) rules Sarawak, the state’s rights over its oil and gas resources will be upheld.
GPS chairman Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg said this can be achieved through the enforcement of the Oil Mining Ordinance (OMO) 1958.
The chief minister said this is one sure way to enable Sarawak to benefit from its oil and gas resources which have been exploited by outsiders for decades.
Abang Helmi (right) presents a token of appreciation to Abang Johari as other guests look on.
“The ordinance gives Sarawak the power to regulate and issue licences for its upstream oil and gas industry. Petronas is not exempted from this,” he stressed.
“As long as GPS rules Sarawak we will ensure this right is maintained,” he reiterated.
Abang Johari went on to say that Sarawak wants “real” participation in its oil and gas industry.
He said it is for this reason that Sarawak must upscale its manpower skills in the industry.
“We must harness new technologies in the industry. We need experienced and knowledgeable people so that we can benefit from it.
“Why cannot we benefit from our resources? Why are we seeing outsiders benefiting from our resources?
“In 1910 when the first oil well was drilled in Miri, we didn’t have the required knowledge and skills, so we worked with Shell and gained some benefits.
“Today, more than a hundred years have passed, Sarawakians are overseas managers and presidents and vice-presidents, and so on and so forth. In other words, we have developed and progressed in the industry.
“What GPS is trying to do is, with the experience we now have, we want to develop Sarawak’s petroleum industry, which is why we established Petros.
“Sarawak is a rich state but the people are poor as can be seen from their per capita income. With this background I sent my teams to London to find and secure important documents related to our petroleum industry and, guess what, we found the documents!”
He reiterated that the documents justify several matters pertaining to Sarawak’s rights over its petroleum, the most important being our legal ownership of our resources as well as upstream and downstream activities and value-added products.
“Legally we have the right to our land, so companies must have permits from the Sarawak government to explore for or exploit our oil and gas.
“Up till today, I am skeptical with what some people said about our oil and gas reserves. I was the Minister of Industrial Development in 1988 and SHELL CEO at the time was Christopher Knight, who brought me offshore. I asked him how much oil reserve Sarawak had left, and he said about 20 years.
“Now is 2019, we still have plenty of reserves. To me what that means is either their data was badly wrong or they were not telling me the truth because they didn’t want Sarawak to fight for its oil and gas like what we are doing now,” the chief minister said.