Abang Johari (second left) is briefed on the construction of Rosmari-Marjoram onshore gas plant in Tanjung Kidurong. – Photo by Ukas

BINTULU (Sept 21): Sarawak’s oil and gas industry continues to thrive and remains attractive to investors like Shell even after more than a century, said Premier Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg.

He said the Shell Malaysia Upstream Headquarters at Miri Times Square, which he hoped to open soon, is another testament of the great confidence and relationship the company has with the Sarawak government.

“However, Sarawak’s political stability and sound policies cannot be discounted as the plus factor for investors like Shell to come to Sarawak to grow their business.

“If Shell makes money Sarawak will also make money because we charge SST (Sarawak Sales Tax).

“For the record, since 2019 Sarawak’s income through SST amounts to RM13 billion instead of the mere five per cent royalty that we used to receive for our O&G,” he said when officiating at the groundbreaking of Rosmari-Marjoram onshore gas plant in Tanjung Kidurong today.

Abang Johari believes that Sarawak’s continental shelf subsea still has huge reserves of gas despite prediction in early 1990s that Sarawak’s gas could only last for another 20 years.

“More than 30 years on, more and more oil and gas fields are discovered offshore Sarawak, the latest being the six fields in five blocks – SK306, SK411, SK313, SK301B and SK315,” he said.

He added oil and gas constitute one of the essential pillars of Sarawak’s vision to attain a developed state status by 2030.

He pointed out that the development of the new Sarawak Integrated Sour Gas Evacuation System or Sisges sour gas hub, a multi-billion dollar cornerstone investment within SEDC’s Petrochemical Industrial Park (PIP) in Tanjung Kidurong, aligns well with Sarawak’s ambitions.

“Sour gas used to be considered not profitable to develop as the process was expensive but new technology has reduced cost considerably.

“Today, I am honoured to inaugurate the start of Phase 1 of the Sisges sour gas hub, by breaking ground for the Rosmari-Marjoram Bintulu onshore gas plant here in Tanjung Kidurong,” he said.

The Rosmari-Marjoram project is designed to produce 800 million standard cubic feet of gas per day (MMscf/d). Gas production is expected to start in 2026.

Nevertheless, he said the Sarawak government has consistently emphasised that economic development must never come at the expense of the environment.

He was delighted to learn about Shell’s partnership with Unimas (Universiti Malaysia Sarawak) in biodiversity research and applauded Shell’s unwavering commitment to environment protection.

“I urge other companies to follow Shell’s commendable lead in this critical area.

“Further, I would also like to applaud Shell for your collaborative efforts with Sarawak Forestry Cooperation, taking into account that your Rosmari and Majoram offshore operations will be within an area that has been declared as a Marine National Park. Your respect for nature and marine biodiversity is an exemplary behaviour,” he said.

Abang Johari said the strategic significance of Rosmari-Marjoram for Sarawak is evident and the government of Sarawak is wholeheartedly committed to working collaboratively with Shell and Petronas to ensure the success of Rosmari-Marjoram and Sisges sour gas hub initiatives.

He is also looking forward to more collaborations between Shell and Petros, which is Sarawak’s oil and gas entity.

Beside oil and gas, he said Sarawak is also keen on carbon capture, utilisation and storage (CCUS) space where three reservoirs have been identified.

“Planning is on the cards to facilitate the development of these three reservoirs offshore Sarawak that should position us at the forefront of CCUS in the region when they come into operation before the end of the decade,” he added.

Also present at the event were Minister of Food Industries, Commodities and Regional Development Dato Sri Dr Stephen Rundi Utom, Minister of Transport Dato Sri Lee Kim Shin, deputy state secretary (Operation) Datu Hii Chang Kee, Petronas senior vice president of Malaysia Petroleum Management (MPM) Mohamed Firouz Asnan, Country Chair of Shell Malaysia and senior vice president Upstream Malaysia Siti Hurrairah Sulaiman, Unimas vice chancellor Prof Datuk Dr Mohamad Kadim Suaidi, Eksons Corporation Bhd chairman Tan Sri Datuk Amar Abdul Aziz Dato Husain and Bintulu Resident Nyurak Keti.