MIRI: Petroleum Sarawak Berhad (Petros) will kick-off its exploration activities in Miri this year as the state will assume full regulatory authority over its upstream and downstream of the oil and gas industry by July, said Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg.
In stressing that the state will exploit its oil and gas resources which are under the State List as per the Ninth Schedule of the Federal Constitution, Abang Johari said those who dismissed his assertion of the state rights were “blowing hot air and talking nonsense”.
“This augurs well for the business community when the activities start,” he said at the business luncheon dialogue organised by Sarawak Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCI) Miri Region committee held at Eastwood Golf and Country Club today.
Abang Johari, however, did not say when such prospecting operations would kick-off.
Abang Johari said the state has been fighting for oil and gas royalty to be raised from five per cent to 20 per cent as spearheaded by his predecessor, the late Pehin Sri Adenan Satem.
However, he said it was not easy for the state to get what it wanted unless with the consent from the federal government, as the Federal Constitution had put a cap of 10 per cent for oil and gas royalty.
He said this when fielding questions from the floor on what the future holds for Miri with Petros coming into the picture which was formerly dominated by Shell and Petronas.
Abang Johari, earlier on in his address, advised the community to be opened to the bigger picture and look beyond the oil and gas industry as the engine of growth and business in the city.
According to organising chairman Andy Chia who is a former Pujut state assemblyman and SCCI Miri Region committee chairman, the Miri community is looking forward to Petros setting up its base in the city which is home to the oil and gas industry for over a century.