Wednesday, July 6

Give Sarawak more natural gas quota, Awang Tengah tells Petronas

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MIRI: The state government wants national oil corporation Petronas to increase the quota for competitively-priced natural gas feedstock as a catalyst to stimulate greater development of the petrochemical industry in Sarawak.

Minister of Industrial Development Datuk Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hasan said this when officiating at the Petronas Miri Registration and Licensing Office and ‘Business Opportunities in the Oil and Gas Industry’ seminar here yesterday.

“We hope Petronas will grant us a bigger quota of natural gas at reasonable price to support our development of value-adding petrochemical industries,” he said of the state government’s thrust on downstream development in Sarawak Corridor of Renewable Energy (SCORE).

Awang Tengah said this was in line with the state’s aspiration for a bigger piece of the oil and gas industry through participation in downstream activities, contracts, employment, business opportunities and other spin-offs.

Sarawak’s current petrochemical industries include Shell Middle Distillate Synthesis, MLNG and ABF plants in Bintulu where the state government has only a marginal equity share.

The seminar, the second after Kuching, was jointly organised by the Ministry of Industrial Development and Petronas to create greater awareness among aspiring contractors and entrepreneurs of tapping into the lucrative but competitive oil and gas industry.

The minister said the state government had been knocking hard on Petronas’ door for greater participation, winning an annual baseline figure of RM2.1 billion worth of contract works and jobs annually for Sarawakian companies and individuals.

“This is a baseline value and we hope the figure will increase each year,” he said, pointing out the industry’s prospect was determined by the vagaries of world oil price.

“We are done with being sub, sub, sub, sub-contractor of Petronas as the door is now open, and the ball is at the feet of Sarawakians to grab the opportunities,” he added.

Awang Tengah, who is also Minister of Public Utilities and Second Minister of Resource Planning and Environment, said local entrepreneurs and contractors must strive and be able to compete with the best in the competitive industry.

He was optimistic that Sarawakians would rise to the occasion, noting they had succeeded as sub-contractors and were much sought after by companies in the oil and gas industry across the globe.

He said Miri was well-positioned to tap into the opportunities, with the impeccable talents and experience of aspiring Petronas vendors and contractors.

He cited Dayang Enterprise Holding as an example of a small outfit that has now become a major player in the industry.

The establishment of technical colleges and Curtin University of Technology were also supporting factors, he added.

He welcomed Petronas’ initiative to set up registration and licensing offices in Kuching, Miri and Bintulu, saying they would help to nurture greater participation of locals in the industry.

Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Adenan Satem had stated that he wanted greater Sarawakian participation in the oil and gas industry.

This might have been the reason why the response to the seminar was overwhelming, with 400 aspirants turning up for the seminar here and 300 in Kuching last Monday.

Awang Tengah said the seminar in Bintulu targeted to draw 1,000 participants.

Also present at the function were organising chairman and Assistant Minister of Industrial Development (Investment & Promotion) Datuk Julaihi Narawie, Assistant Minister of Industrial Estate Development Datuk Peter Nansian Ngusie, vice president Production Malaysia, Petronas Carigali Datuk Johari Dasri and senior general manager Norliza Nawi.