Sunday January 20, 2013
Explore Baram interior for oil and gas reserves
By STEPHEN THEN
MIRI: Petronas and Nippon Oil have been urged to extend the exploration for oil and gas into the deep interior of Baram.
Local politicians said the possibility of discovering untapped reserves of the black gold was pretty high.
Baram MP and International Trade and Industry Deputy Minister Datuk Jacob Dungau Sagan told The Star yesterday that it was very likely that Baram had the same geological structure with Miri, and since oil and gas had been found inland here, the likelihood of similar finds in the Baram delta was high.
“I was told that Nippon Oil is exploring the Baram region as well. I sincerely hope they drill in as many locations in Baram as possible. The news that Nippon and Petronas have found oil and gas reserves in the Adong Well near the city is a very important development.
“This means that there are big possibilities of many more such underground reserves waiting to be discovered, not just in the city, but also in the surrounding regions.Baram also have undiscovered reserves because the district is adjacent to Miri,” he said when asked to comment on the significance of the latest find in Miri.
Two days ago Petronas announced that its joint venture partner Nippon Oil had struck an oil and gas reserve more than 3,000 metres underground some 20kms northeast of the city.
Sagan said the find should mark the start of very intensive exploratory drilling in more locations.
He was sure that more seismic surveys would be carried out throughout Miri and Baram soon.
The one they discovered in Miri looked to be sizeable, he noted, adding that if it was found to be commercially viable for the long term, it would translate into a lot of revenue for the state and country every year.
He believed it would spark off another economic and social boom because the oil and gas industry was the catalyst that turned Miri from a small fishing village into the second largest urban centre in Sarawak and one of the richest cities in the country.
“I hope for a similar impact on Baram if they can find oil and gas reserves there,” he said.
Telang Usan state assemblyman Dennis Ngau, meanwhile, said Nippon Oil had started drilling in one site near Marudi town, less than 100kms from Miri.
According to him, drilling there was going on, and for information that he gathered, there was very high chances of finding oil and gas reserves there.
“I am sure that there are more underground reserves outside of Marudi town where there are also yet-to-be found oil and gas stocks.
“Marudi and the whole of Baram will see a major economic and social transformation if indeed commercial drilling starts,” he said.
Ngau said that as was seen in Miri, any major oil and gas production would trigger a boom in the housing sector, food supply, transportation, banking and others.
That would in turn lead to major road improvements, construction of basic infrastructure like electricity and water supply, and telecommunication facilities and internet connections for more areas, he added.
A senior engineer working for an oil company in Miri also told The Star that the find by Nippon and Petronas was very significant.
“If it is not significant, Petronas would not have announced it to the public. I think there will be very interesting developments arising from this discovery in the very near future,” he said, adding that the future for the people of Miri and the rest of northern Sarawak looked good.