The Sarawak government said it is in the dark about Petronas’ production sharing contracts (PSCs) award to Thai and Kuwaiti companies to jointly explore a block of petroleum resource off the state’s coast.
Sarawak Chief Minister Tan Sri Adenan Satem repeatedly said he did not have any knowledge of the matter when questioned about Block SK410B, said to be located in shallow waters off the state’s coast, The Borneo Post reported today.
“I don’t know about this matter, so cannot make any comments,” he told a news conference in Kuching yesterday, even after being informed that Thailand’s PTTEP HK Offshore Ltd and Kuwait’s Kufpec Malaysia Sdn Bhd would hold 42.5 per cent respectively, while Petronas Carigali Sdn Bhd would hold only 15 per cent of the PSC.
The award was reportedly inked on July 21.
His deputy Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas who was also at the same news conference added that the matter was one of seven issues that would be ironed out later between Sarawak and the federal government.
“We are not in the picture. That is why one of the agreements is for the state government to discuss the PSC contracts,” Uggah was quoted saying in the same report.
The foreign ownership of Block SK410B had been highlighted by Batu Lintang assemblyman See Chee How when he demanded an explanation from the state.
Sarawak and Petronas have been involved in a dispute recently over manpower issues, with the state government lashing out against the national oil giant’s policy of hiring non-natives whom it claimed were qualified for senior positions.
The deployment of non-locals to work in the Sarawak Petronas operations was the subject of complaints by the Suarah Petroleum Group, a state-sponsored think tank, early this month after 29 positions were abolished and 13 local senior staff retrenched.
Following the complaints, the state government froze applications for work permits from non-local Malaysians to work in Sarawak operations.
The state government also formed a committee, headed by the state deputy chief minister, to hold discussions with the oil company.
But Adenan reached an agreement with Petronas last Friday in a meeting with the oil and gas giant’s chief executive Datuk Wan Zulkfili Wan Ariffin and Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak in Putrajaya.
The Malay Mail Online