Sabah politicians to intervene in Petronas suit

SABAH politicians are eager to intervene in Petronas’ suit to lay exclusive claim on the country’s petroleum resources and to be the regulator of the upstream industry.

Sabah, a petroleum-rich state, stands to lose its rights if the national oil company wins in its suit, said Sabah Star president Jeffrey Kitingan.

He said that while Petronas was relying on the Petroleum Development Act 1974 as the point of its argument, this law was in fact “unconstitutional”.

“The act goes against the federal constitution, which accords the rights of natural resources to the respective states.

“If the state government does not act, Sabah stands to lose all its rights on the oil if Petronas wins its suit,” he said during the Double Six Commemoration in Sembulan, Kota Kinabalu, today.

Petronas earlier this week filed an application before the Federal Court seeking a declaration that it is the exclusive owner of petroleum resources in Malaysia, including in Sarawak.

It is also seeking the apex court’s declaration that it is the regulator for the upstream industry throughout the country.

The hearing will be on June 12 in at the court in Putrajaya.

The move comes as Sarawak prepares to assume full regulatory authority over upstream and downstream aspects of the oil and gas industry in the state from next month through Petroleum Sarawak Bhd (Petros), a state-owned oil and gas exploration firm formed last year and officially launched in March.

Jeffrey said Gabungan Sabah aims to raise funds to engage lawyers to challenge Petronas’ bid.

He said that the state’s citizens, as stakeholders of Sabah’s natural resources, could take action if the state government did not.

Sabah Progressive Party president Yong Teck Lee said a team of lawyers were already working on building a case against Petronas. – June 6, 2018.

Source: https://www.themalaysianinsight.com/s/52969

Sarawak still guarded in giving details of oil and gas talks

SARAWAK Chief Minister Abang Johari Openg today provided some insight into the highly secretive negotiations between state oil company Petroleum Sarawak Bhd (Petros) and Petronas over the latter’s new role in the state’s oil and gas industry.

He also touched upon the terms of the new resource-sharing agreement, following the state’s decision to fully enforce its Oil Mining Ordinance (OMO).

Source: https://www.themalaysianinsight.com/s/102569

Sarawak CM must resolve oil, territorial disputes through the court, says DAP

WHILE there are valid considerations the Petroleum Development Act and the Territorial Sea Act have contravened the Federal Constitution, there was no legal basis for Chief Minister Abang Johari Abang Openg to declare they are not applicable in Sarawak.

Abang Johari, at the launch of the state-owned Sarawak Petroleum Bhd (Petros) on Wednesday, said Sarawak would assume full regulatory authority over the oil and gas industry in the state by July. 

He also claimed oil companies wishing to do business, including Petronas, must have the necessary approvals from the state government.

The chief minister was echoing statements on Monday the state has reclaimed its oil and gas rights, saying federal laws ensure the resources remain in Putrajaya’s hands.

Sarawak DAP women bureau affairs chief Irene Chang said laws Abang Johari’s claimed had no force such as the Petroleum Development Act 1974 (PDA), Territorial Sea Act 2012 (TSA) and Tripartite Agreement, signed by the federal government, Sarawak government and Petronas, have not been repealed or rescinded.

“To declare these two legislations as null and void and therefore have no application in Sarawak, the chief minister has to bring the matter before the courts of law. 

“Until the courts declare as such, the acts are in force and applicable in Sarawak,” Chang said. 

“To say otherwise is to give people false hope and the state government owes it to the people to set the matter right,” said the Bukit Assek assemblyman.

PDA gives Petronas exclusive ownership right to the oil and gas resources in Malaysia, and makes it the main regulatory body for upstream oil and gas activities. 

Under TSA, Sabah and Sarawak could not exert its sovereignty beyond 3-nautical miles from its shores, short of the 12-nautical mile limit on other coastal states. 

Chang urged Abang Johari to lead the state’s legislators to pass a motion to review the two acts and to get a court order to declare them null and void.

She added the state government might even have a legal argument to demand for the return of all the revenues earned from the resources from 1974 until now.

“Petros and Development Bank of Sarawak, although impressive and would create jobs, but whatever oil and gas that may be exploited in our waters, still need to go back to Petronas. 

“We are entitled to only 5% of the royalty,” she said. 

Chang said if the courts declared the two acts null and void and ultra vires to the Federal Constitution, then the Sarawak Barisan Nasional government needs to “apologise to the people of Sarawak.”

“It is time for the state gvernment to come clean and admit they allowed daylight robbery to be committed for the past 44 years. They need to prove their sincerity in claiming back what rightfully belongs to Sarawak. 

“Has the state BN government the political will to stand up to the prime minister and the federal government?

“Have they got the political courage to go up to their masters since they believe the acts are not applicable, Petronas should immediately cease operation in Sarawak waters?”

On March 2, Petronas announced profit of RM23.8 billion in 2016 and RM45.5 billion in 2017. – March 10, 2018.

Source: https://www.themalaysianinsight.com/s/42196

Sarawak leaders divided over state’s actions to defend its rights

IN March last year, the Sarawak government established the state’s own oil and gas exploration company, Petroleum Sarawak Bhd (Petros), modelled after national oil company Petronas.

While many Sarawakians were trying to figure out what role the company would play alongside Petronas, which has absolute monopoly over the state’s carbon resources, alarm bells were reported to be ringing in the Twin Towers and Putrajaya on the Sarawak government’s intent.

Source: https://www.themalaysianinsight.com/s/131882

Bidayuh oil and gas veteran picked as Petros CEO, industry sources say

OIL industry veteran Saau Kakok is expected to head Sarawak-owned Petroleum Sarawak Bhd (Petros) after months of searching for a chief executive officer, industry sources say.

Saau, who was former special projects vice-president for Asia of the US-based independent oil company Hess Corporation, is the man Sarawak Chief Minister Abang Johari Openg has headhunted for the job and was not among the numerous applicants for the post, they said.

The 64 year-old is one of only a handful of Bidayuh oil and gas executives holding very senior positions in a multi-national petroleum company.

According to his profile on his LinkedIn page, he resigned from his vice-president position at Hess at the end of last year.

Abang Johari on Sunday said he has found “the right person for the job” and gave only one hint – that the person was a Bidayuh with experience in oil and gas industry.

The Bidayuh are the second largest of state’s ethnic tribes.

Petroleum-rich Sarawak formed Petros last year amid long-standing unhappiness over the 5% oil and gas royalty the state receives from the federal government. Sarawak has been demanding that the amount be increased to 20%.

The state government said Petros would be of “equal status” as national oil company Petronas and was meant to protect Sarawak’s interest in the industry by allowing it to participate in upstream oil and gas development, particularly in the exploration and extraction of oil and gas within Sarawak waters.

Oil and gas executives have told The Malaysian Insight that Saau was indeed picked for the job as the native of Ulu Padawan, located just outside Kuching the state capital, was a person with vast experience in the industry.

“It’s Saau. We are positive it’s him as he has been having a few meetings with Petros board chairman Hamid Bugo over the position this week,” an executive said.

Saau joined Hess in 2011 as vice-president of global new business development.

He completed his tertiary education at University of Malaya, graduating with honours in a Bachelor of Engineering degree in 1977.

Like many Sarawakians, he first joined the oil and gas industry via Shell.

His LinkedIn page stated his last position at Shell as vice-president of Shell EP International Ltd, a position he held from 2007 to 2009.

In Hess, Saau has held several positions including vice-president for Asia-Pacific, as a director in Hess Malaysia and Thailand Ltd, in Hess Oil & Gas Sdn Bhd and in Hess (Indonesia-South Sesulu) Limited.

He was with the London-based Hess (Indonesia-South Sesulu) Ltd from January 2014 to December 31, 2016.

Wilfred Nissom, one of his former teachers at the Dragon Secondary School (later renamed SMK Tun Abdul Razak), described Saau as “very sharp but quiet and humble”.

He also remembered Sauu as being a good athlete who had represented the school as a long-distance runner in inter-school sports meets.

The Malaysian Insight was also told by industry sources that the “humble” Saau had expressed that he was not good enough for the job and had asked Hamid to look for someone else.

Last November, Hamid said the Petros board was in the midst of screening 40 applications for the post that was advertised in local and national newspapers.

The other members of the Petros board are Bintulu Port Holdings CEO Mohammad Medan Abdullah, Sarawak Energy Bhd CEO Sharbini Suhaili, former Shell Gas & Power Malaysia managing director Heng Hock Cheng and Sarawak Public Works Department director Zuraimi Sabki.

All of them had served in various capacities in the oil and gas industry. – February 14, 2018.

Source: https://www.themalaysianinsight.com/s/37884

Sarawak to implement regulatory rights on oil, gas beginning July 1

BEGINNING July 1, Sarawak will implement regulatory rights on oil and gas activities in the state, said Chief Minister Abang Johari Openg.

He said this following the federal court’s dismissal of Petroliam Nasional Bhd’s (Petronas) application for leave to commence proceedings against the Sarawak government’s move to regulate the state’s petroleum activities.

Abang Johari said the state government’s move was in accordance with the law stipulated in the federal constitution.

“This means that some of the powers under the Oil Mining Ordinance (OMO) 1958 will be implemented by Petros (Petroleum Sarawak Bhd),” he said.

Yesterday, Chief Judge of Malaya Ahmad Maarop dismissed Petronas’ application after deciding that the federal court could not hear the matter, as the declaratory relief sought by the national oil company was not covered under the jurisdiction of the federal court, but the high court.

Abang Johari said only the Sarawak government had the rights to regulate the oil and gas activities from the point of law as stipulated in the federal constitution.

When asked if Petronas needed to apply for a permit or permission from Sarawak to be involved in oil and gas activities in the state hereafter, he replied: “What is happening now is that we have the state law that Petronas must abide to.”

Sarawak would not create a difficult environment with abnormal conditions for the oil and gas industry in the state, and would ensure that it continued to run smoothly, he said.

Abang Johari said Sarawak’s next state legislative assembly sitting would table the bill to amend OMO 1958, as some of the matters in the ordinance were no longer relevant with the current situation. – Bernama, June 23, 2018.

Source: https://www.themalaysianinsight.com/s/56436

Sarawak CM hints of plans to claim more oil, gas revenue

CHIEF Minister Abang Johari Openg has given another hint that Sarawak will muscle in to claim more revenue from oil and gas for its coffers.

“I already have ideas (on generating more income), but I cannot reveal them today,” said Abang Johari, who is also president of Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB), the second-largest party in the ruling Barisan Nasional coalition, when jointly opening the PBB Women and Youth wings’ triennial delegates’ conference in Kuching today.

“We have oil, we have gas, but we only see other people benefiting from them,” he said in an apparent reference to the Petroleum Development Act 1974 (PDA), which takes away gains from the two valuable resources from the state, and the highly contentious royalty payment arrangement, where the federal government gets 95% of revenue from the state’s oil and gas.

The PDA, a law passed by Parliament, gives Petronas the sole right to the exploration and exploitation of oil and gas, whether onshore or offshore, and “the entire ownership, and exclusive rights, powers, liberties and privileges” relating to the resources.

Having already demanded that state gets an increase in royalty to 20%, Abang Johari has spoken about plans to curtail the national petroleum company’s unbridled operations in Sarawak.

They include making Petronas obtain mining permits, as the rights to issue mining leases still rest with the state under the Malaysia Agreement 1963, and the formation of Petroleum Sarawak, a state oil company “to look after the interests of the state”.

Sarawak has also demanded that it gets the first right of refusal in any new development of oil and gas fields.

Abang Johari said he was “very confident” of making Sarawak a developed state by 2030.

“We have set a target. We can meet that target if our revenues are increased… so that we can better develop our cities and rural areas.”

He said this confidence was the reason why he dared disclose plans to build mega projects, like the light rail transit for Kuching and Samarahan, the building of an “internet backbone” in rural Sarawak and the building of a water grid without federal assistance.

The water grid, which involves laying a huge water main through the entire length of the state, could cost between RM7 billion and RM8 billion.

Abang Johari said when such major infrastructure was in place, “then, we can call Sarawak a developed state”.

Gerald Rentap Jabu, the son of former deputy chief minister Alfred Jabu, takes over the helm of the PBB Youth wing from Works Minister Fadillah Yusof, who has stepped down due to his age.

State Welfare, Community Wellbeing, Women, Family and Childhood Development Minister Fatimah Abdullah has been made president of the party’s Women’s wing after Empiang Jabu, who is Gerald’s mother, stepped down after 11 years at the helm.

Both Gerald and Fatimah won uncontested. – February 9, 2018.

Source: https://www.themalaysianinsight.com/s/37040

Sarawak CM dismisses claim Petros will be another 1MDB

SARAWAK Chief Minister Abang Johari Openg has dismissed allegations published online that state oil company, Petroleum Sarawak Bhd (Petros), was created as a vehicle to siphon Sarawak oil money away.

“No such thing. That (claim by the) website – aogm.net – is malicious with malicious intentions,” he said when opening Brooke Dockyard and Engineering Works Corporation’s second fabrication yard in Demak and the loadout of Petronas Carigali’s Bokor D substructure in Bako, 40km from Kuching.

Source: https://www.themalaysianinsight.com/s/137749

No more business as usual by July, Sarawak CM tells Petronas

SARAWAK Chief Minister Abang Johari Openg has told Petronas it cannot operate as usual from July, adding that the national oil company has not done enough to develop the country’s largest state.

His remarks, carried by satellite TV operator Astro tonight, underscore the state’s move to be independent of Putrajaya ahead of the 14th general election, widely expected to be called next month.

“Petronas must acknowledge the fact that it is our right for them to align with our laws,” the chief minister said in an interview on Astro Awani.

Last night, the chief minister, at the launch of the state-owned Sarawak Petroleum Bhd (Petros), said by July, Sarawak will assume full regulatory authority over the upstream and downstream aspects of the oil and gas industry in the state, and that all individuals and companies wishing to do business in the industry, including Petronas, must have the necessary licences, permits, leases and approvals from the state government.

The legal requirements are from either the Oil Mining Ordinance 1958 or Gas Distribution Ordinance 2016.

Prior to this, Petronas, vested with the powers under the Petroleum Development Act 1974 (PDA), dictated all aspects of the oil and gas industry in the state.

Petronas negotiated and awarded all the power-sharing contracts and its contractors.

Abang Johari said under the new operating condition, as Sarawak exercises its constitutional rights over the two resources, some Petronas decisions are also no longer for the company to make alone.

He gave the appointment of contractors as an example.

“They can’t appoint their contractors themselves. They must get their contractors and sub-contractors who are registered with us,” he said, referring to the new legal requirement for oil and gas companies to have licences, permits, leases and approvals from the state government.

Abang Johari said Sarawak never had a say in the appointment of contractors before.

“We don’t have a say especially in the question of the participation of our private sector.”

He said while the national petroleum company has posted billion of ringgits in profits, it is not doing enough to channel some of the money to develop the state.

“The understanding (for the PDA) was that, Petronas would use part of its revenue to develop the state. Over the years, you can see what has happened.

“Petronas has got lots of revenue, but our perception is that they concentrated their projects in the peninsula, while the state is struggling to get money to develop basic infrastructure.

“Fair enough, it has to be shared throughout the country, but there must be the equitable allocation of resources to Sarawak.”

He said Sarawakians can also see and think.

“Sarawakians are looking at the Twin Towers, and Sarawakians are also looking at all the bailouts of the federal government… and we can think that part of the money comes from Petronas.”

He said Petronas is not doing enough to help develop the state.

“Yes, they have their plant in Bintulu. That is their investment, and we have a certain equity.

“But what must be done is, there must be equitable jobs to be given to Sarawak companies.”

Despite the warning of change, Petronas said the company “is committed to supporting Sarawak’s aspirations to actively participate in the state’s oil and gas industry, in line with the current framework of the PDA”.

In offering its congratulations to the Sarawak government over the launch of Petros, and welcoming the participation of the state petroleum company in the oil and gas sector, Petronas said it is looking forward “to continue collaborating with the state for mutual benefit”. – March 7, 2018.

Source: https://www.themalaysianinsight.com/s/41654

Not true that Sarawak has reclaimed oil and gas rights, says opposition

SARAWAK opposition leaders have challenged the chief minister’s statement that the state has reclaimed its oil and gas rights, saying federal laws ensure the resources remain in Putrajaya’s hands.

They said the state cannot regain the rights when laws like the Petroleum Development Act 1974 (PDA), Territorial Sea Act 2012 (TSA) and Tripartite Agreement, signed by the federal government, Sarawak government and Petronas, have not been repealed or rescinded.

“How can we assert those rights that are constrained and/or no longer in our hands?” said state PKR vice-chairman See Chee How, in response to Abang Johari Openg’s statement at the launch of state oil company Petroleum Sarawak Bhd in Kuching on Tuesday.

The PDA vests in Petronas the entire ownership of, and exclusive rights, powers, liberties and privileges to, the exploration and exploitation of the country’s petroleum resources, both onshore and offshore.

The law gives the national petroleum company complete control in carrying out downstream activities and developments relating to petroleum and related products.

See said the PDA “has completely taken away all our rights, power and privileges over the petroleum resources deposited and found within the territorial boundary of Sarawak”.

The TSA limits the state’s sea boundary and territorial jurisdiction to a mere three nautical miles offshore.

Sarawakians have longed accused the federal government of passing the law to plunder the state’s offshore oil and gas resources by limiting the state’s control to the exploration, exploitation and obtaining of all resources found in Sarawak’s territorial sea, which should have been extended up to 300 nautical miles.

The Tripartite Agreement is purportedly “to irrevocably grant in perpetuity, and convey to and vest in Petronas” Sarawak’s ownership, and the exclusive rights, powers, liberties and privileges of exploring, exploiting and obtaining petroleum onshore or offshore.

See, who is also Batu Lintang assemblyman, said the chief minister “appears to be overly excited and exceedingly optimistic about the indefinite and ambiguous assurance of the prime minister (to return state rights)”, while state DAP chairman Chong Chieng Jen described Abang Johari’s announcement as “much ado about nothing”.

See said the chief minister has “gone overboard with an announcement that may not materialise”.

“With his eyes trained on the next general election, the assurance by the prime minister was vague, and clearly uttered to placate Sarawakians and Sabahans.

“The insincerity of Putrajaya is evidenced by the fact that, until today, the prime minister has yet to get back to Sarawak on the reference made to his office by our late former chief minister, Adenan Satem, to repeal or amend the TSA in 2016.”

He said there has been no progress on the devolution of powers to Sarawak since Adenan died.

“To assert our sovereign power and rights to the issuance of permits and licences for mines, mining leases and certificates under Item 2(c) of the State List under the Ninth Schedule of the federal constitution, in this case, the prospecting, mining and development of our petroleum resources, the federal government must first agree to repeal the TSA and PDA, or make amendments to their provisions, and the Tripartite Agreement signed between the federal government, Sarawak government and Petronas must be rescinded.

“The chief minister must first obtain the assurance and undertaking of the prime minister to repeal the TSA and PDA, and to rescind the Tripartite Agreement, before he can make the announcement that we are now able to exercise our jurisdiction under our Oil Mining Ordinance, with regard to the licensing of oil and gas exploration, exploitation and development.

“Unless all these laws and legal provisions are repealed or amended, to devolve or vest powers back to Sarawak, we are, in effect, powerless.”

See said the announcement by Abang Johari that Sarawak is now able to exercise administrative and regulatory control over all petroleum-related activities in the state is “superficial at best”.

Chong said Sarawak’s entitlement to oil and gas royalties remains a meagre 5%.

The state Pakatan Harapan chairman and Bandar Kuching MP said unless the provisions of the PDA are amended or repealed, whatever laws or regulations passed by the state assembly or set by the state government “will become redundant and ineffective”.

He said the chief minister’s announcement was just another one of his “hot air” stunts, “trying to fool Sarawakians into believing that there is the devolution of powers, when the main control over, and benefits of, oil and gas remain with the federal government”.

“Barisan Nasional has taken Sarawakians for a ride for the past 55 years, and with this perceived devolution of powers, it intends to continue taking Sarawakians for another ride for another 50 years.”

Parti Bansa Dayak Sarawak Baru president Cobbold John questioned how the state could reclaim its oil and gas rights if “Petronas is being allowed to operate as usual”.

He accused Abang Johari of manipulating the Malaysia Agreement 1963 and state rights for political benefits.

“These two laws (the PDA and TSA) need to be amended. Only then can the state assert its constitutional power.”

DAP’s pick for the Stampin federal seat in the 14th general election, Kelvin Yii, said Abang Johari’s announcement “seems to be purposefully orchestrated to mislead the public with regard to the control of our oil and gas resources”.

“Unless there is a repeal or amendment of the PDA, the oil still belongs to the federal government under Petronas, and we are entitled to only a 5% oil royalty.”

The chief minister, in an interview with TV station Astro Awani this morning, said the state’s right to its oil and gas is guaranteed under the federal constitution.

He said even though Item 8(j) under the Ninth Schedule of the constitution grants to the federal government the development of mineral resources, mines, mining, minerals and mineral ores, oils and oilfields; purchase, sale, import and export of minerals and mineral ores, and petroleum products; and, regulation of labour and safety in mines and oilfields, there is a condition.

The condition is that, all those rights are subject to Item 2(c) in the State List, where permits and licences for the prospecting of mines, mining leases and certificates are the rights of the state.

When asked about the PDA and TSA, Abang Johari said under Article 4 of the federal constitution, laws that are inconsistent with the constitution are void.

On the TSA, he said: “Our boundary when we formed Malaysia was 12 nautical miles. It is still 12 nautical miles. It cannot be changed under Article 2 of the federal constitution unless it is agreed to by the state legislative assembly and the Conference of Rulers.”

The state legislative assembly has never agreed to the change. – March 7, 2018.

Source: https://www.themalaysianinsight.com/s/41638

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