Sarawak restarts onshore oil exploration

Desmond Davidson

Sarawak leaders watch an oil drill being sunk for the first time in the Adong Kecil West field in Baram. The state has resumed exploration for oil and gas after a lapse 30 years. – Facebook pic, October 11, 2023.

AFTER a lapse of more than three decades, Sarawak again began oil exploration – along with gas this time – onshore Miri, sinking its first drill in the Adong Kecil West field in Baram today.

Petra Energy Bhd, which was awarded the exploration contract, described the occasion as “an extremely meaningful milestone”.

Petra is a state-owned company established in Miri 35 years ago.

Sarawak Premier Abang Johari Openg, who watched a live feed of the drilling from the state’s first oil well atop Canada Hill in Miri, said the milestone would forever be etched in the history books as the state commemorated “the first onshore drilling at SK433 Adong Kecil West in Miri”.

“More than 100 years has passed since oil was first discovered right here on Canada Hill by Shell at oil well No.1,” he said.

The well, later nicknamed the “Grand Old Lady”, is a key exhibit of the hilltop petroleum museum.

The premier endorsed the signing of the SK433 petroleum contract between state-owned oil and gas company Petroleum Sarawak Berhad (Petros) and Petra Energy in June 2021.

He said an exploration well in the second onshore field near Limbang in Lawas district’s block SK334 could be drilled in 2025.

“As we take this step towards resuming onshore oil and gas activities after decades of inactivity, we are reaffirming our commitment to rejuvenate exploration onshore Sarawak and drive early commercialisation of onshore oil and gas discoveries to spur (the) socio-economic growth of Sarawak and bring us another step closer towards our goals under the post-Covid-19 development strategy,” he said.

The natural gas produced from the Adong Kecil West field would be channelled to the Miri gas hub for the 400MW combined-cycle gas turbine power plant in Lutong, slated to begin operating in 2027.

Petros group CEO Janin Girie in a statement said the Adong Kecil West well marked a significant moment for Sarawak’s onshore exploration after a lull of over 30 years.

Petra Energy’s executive director and group CEO Anthony Bujang said the company’s operations at SK433 would “revitalise the onshore exploration and production of oil and gas”, with the firm set to unlock the potential of the field and contribute to energy security. – October 11, 2023.

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