Malaysia’s Sarawak seeks investors to find new onshore plays

December 14, 2020

Dateline 2020-11-20, Energy Voice:

The eastern Malaysian state of Sarawak, home to the country’s LNG export complex, will soon open onshore acreage for bidding, as it hopes to revitalise its onshore oil and gas industry after taking regulatory control from the federal government.

Since the 1970s, significant oil and gas reserves have been discovered offshore Sarawak, which have helped supply one of the world’s largest LNG plants in Bintulu.

Although there has been significant exploration onshore since the 1980s, results have been modest. Still, Sarawak remains hopeful that new investment will help prove fresh commercial reserves by applying new technologies.

Moreover, Sarawak, after winning a recent battle against the federal government and Petronas for greater control of its natural resources, will now start offering onshore acreage through open auction, as well as direct negotiation. Two onshore blocks, covering the Miri and Limbang, as well as Lawas areas – SK 433 and SK 334 – will be open for bidding in the coming months, the state announced on 30 October 2020.

Limbang among blocks where Petros may lead petroleum management

October 6, 2020

Dateline 2020-09-06, Malay Mail:

 The federal government is currently in discussions with Petronas for Petros to lead the petroleum management site regulations on onshore activities at blocks including Limbang.

Petros vice-president portfolio and planning Abang Arabi Abang Narudin disclosed this in reply to Deputy Minister of Transport and Limbang MP Hasbi Habibollah during a question and answer session at the Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB) Convention for the northern region here yesterday.

Hasbi said Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg had previously mentioned the possibility of oil being found in Limbang.

From Oil & Gas Journal – Brunei, Malaysia to share revenues from disputed oil blocks

June 20, 2010

Maybe I should have gone to the recent AOGC conference, and reported the events with my own slant on things. Can I get sponsorship for the next one, for the tune of USD1000?

And if Brunei owns oil blocks, why on earth would they share the revenue? Is Malaysia going to share the revenue of our oil blocks?

Dateline 2010-06-09, from Oil & Gas Journal:

Eric Watkins, OGJ Oil Diplomacy Editor

Malaysia’s Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Anifah Aman acknowledged that neighboring Brunei owns two formerly disputed oil blocks, but that Malaysia will have a share of revenue produced from them.

Aman said the revenue-sharing was made possible through a commercial arrangement agreed to in March by leaders of the two countries, but that the two sides are still discussing the ratio of the revenues to be shared.

“If we look strictly at the interpretation of the law based on [United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea] 1982, it clearly belongs to Brunei,” said Aman in response to a question by opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.

Anwar had asked Aman to state the validity of the decision of the federal government to hand over Blocks L and M to Brunei, and why the issue of sovereignty of territorial waters of that area was not referred to the Malaysian parliament.

Earlier this year, Murphy Oil Corp.’s interests in Blocks L and M off Malaysia were terminated after resolution of a dispute with Brunei over control of the assets.

That agreement ended a dispute that erupted in 2003 when Petronas and Murphy were awarded two offshore leases, SB L and SB M. The blocks overlapped with Brunei’s Blocks J and K, which had been awarded to Total SA and Royal Dutch Shell PLC (OGJ Online, Apr. 22, 2010).

Developments – Limbang and Oil Claims

May 6, 2010

A summary of accusations and confusion clarifications on the above topic. But notice Murphy has been keeping quiet.

From AP via Google, dateline 2010-04-02:

Malaysia’s PETRONAS, Brunei to develop oil blocks

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia — Malaysian national oil company PETRONAS said Saturday that it is in talks with Brunei to jointly develop two offshore oil reserves off Borneo island after the two nations ended a long-standing spat over ownership of the areas.

Both Malaysia and Brunei awarded exploration contracts in 2003 to parts of an undersea site off Borneo with potentially large oil reserves. But exploration activities have since stalled because the countries discovered that some of the areas overlap.

From The Star, dateline 2010-04-02:

Pak Lah dismisses Dr M’s claims he gave away oil-rich areas to Brunei

PUTRAJAYA: Former Prime Minister Tun Abdullah Badawi has dismissed former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s allegation that he had given away two oil-rich areas to Brunei in 2009 in exchange for Brunei dropping its claims on Limbang in Sarawak.

In a statement, he said that regarding the maritime area, Malaysia and Brunei agreed to establish a final and permanent sea boundary in an exchange of letters on March 16, 2009 aimed at settling the boundary issues between the two nations.

From the Sun (no, not that Sun), dateline 2010-05-02 (kinda slow to report, aren’t they?):

Mahathir queries loss of USD100 billion in deal to reclaim Limbang

KUALA LUMPUR (April 30, 2010): Former premier Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has taken to task Wisma Putra and his successor Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi for the loss of USD100 billion (RM320 billion) of Malaysia’s oil in a deal with Brunei to get back Limbang.

In a posting on his blog titled “Malaysia’s generosity” which quoted reports in The Edge Financial Daily, The Edge and the Brunei Times, Mahathir said a substantial oil producing offshore area in the South China Sea, namely Block L and Block M, are no longer a part of Malaysia. In an immediate response carried by news portals Abdullah dismissed Mahathir’s allegation. He said Malaysia and Brunei agreed to establish a final and permanent sea boundary in an exchange of letters on March 16, 2009 aimed at settling the boundary issues between the two nations, including overlapping claims over the two blocks. He said though sovereign rights to the resources belong to Brunei, Malaysia will be allowed to participate, on a commercial basis, to jointly develop the oil and gas resources in this area for a period of 40 years.

And on Tun’s blog deadline 2010-04-29:

1. The Edge Financial Daily, an article by Joseph Chin (The Edge, April 22nd) as well as Brunei Times reported a substantial oil producing offshore area in the South China Sea, namely Block L and Block M, were no longer a part of Malaysia.

2. Malaysians and the Malaysian media did not ask how this came about. It would seem that the loss of a huge oil producing area that had apparently belonged to Malaysia is okay.

3. Block L and Block M had been claimed by Malaysia based on historical facts. Accordingly, Petronas entered into a production sharing contract with Murphy Oil to start drilling to produce oil. It is estimated that the reserves amounted to almost 1 billion barrels.

From The Star – Brunei drops Limbang Claim

March 19, 2009

Dateline 2009-03-17 (story link here):

BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN: Brunei has officially dropped its long-standing claim over Sarawak’s Limbang district after the two countries resolved various land and maritime territory disputes.

“Brunei has decided to drop the Limbang issue and as a result, Limbang is part of Malaysian territory,” Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi announced to Malaysian media.

And why this decision is of interest to me:

The other disputes include over where the maritime boundary between the two countries in the South China Sea should run, the rights to exploit potentially rich oil deposits in the disputed maritime territory, the right of movement by Malaysian vessels over Brunei waters and the demarcation of the common boundary of the two countries.

Expect Miri to become busier.

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