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Labuan Chinese Chamber rejoices over revival of mega oil-gas project

Published on: Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Labuan: The Chinese Chamber of Commerce (LCC) here has expressed support for the revival of the USD2 billion oil and gas investment on Pulau Daat, off Labuan.

Its President Datuk Wong Kii Yii said this was because the mega project would definitely boost the local economy.

He hoped this time the project would materialise as Labuan had been waiting for it for four years.

"Labuan also has had no significant big projects in recent years as everything went to Sabah," he said, Monday.

He said the proposed investment would complement Malaysia's existing oil and gas industry in Miri, Terengganu, Bintulu and Labuan.

A substantial part of Malaysia's vision of becoming a regional major player in oil and gas will be materialised when Johor's Rapid and Pulau Kuraman and other proposals come on stream.

According to him, the claimant countries of the Spratly Islands have shown increasing interest in oil and gas in recent years, given that there may be huge deposits underneath these islands.

Various sources have estimated that there were more than 100 billion barrels of oil and more than 500 trillion cubic feet of gas, he said, adding that the interest had intensified significantly in the last three years because some countries may have come to realise the potential economic benefits of joint exploration and exploitation of oil and gas in Spratlys.

Towards this end, the current Vice President of the Philippines, Jojo Binay, when announcing his candidacy for the presidential election in 2016 had said he would ease tension with China and go with her for joint exploration.

In another significant move, Brunei has already started work to develop Pulau Muara into a USD 5 billion oil and gas hub with a Chinese investor while Malaysia has an excellent record of joint exploration with Brunei, Thailand and Vietnam.

He said there would be no question of too many oil and gas development facilities since in the context of world wide oil and gas industry these were relatively small.

China, which is in close proximity has become the largest importer of oil and gas consumers market. More significantly, Malaysia must build up sufficient oil and gas capacity, especially technical expertise for us to become a serious player.

"I was given to understand that the oil and gas complexes in Pulau Daat and Pulau Kuraman will not rely on raw or feed material from oil and gas fields in Malaysia.

"They will import from outside sources especially when production starts on the Spratly islands," he said, adding that the significant aspects here were that Malaysia will have an oil and gas industry without dipping into its own reserves and it would be possible for Malaysia to continue to have an oil and gas industry, like Singapore, when its own reserves have completely depleted.

It is in the interest of Malaysia that it continues to build more capacity with the potential to process oil and gas supply from the Spraty. It is possible for Malaysia to reap in revenue from territorial toll from oil and gas piped into the county for processing.

He said Sabah and Labuan stand to gain substantial economic benefits from these burgeoning oil and gas projects through Asian Supply Base, which is the only supply base in the region.

Asian Supply Base is owned by the Sabah Government through Sabah Energy Corporation, which had grown steadily over the years under the leadership of Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman.

It is excellently placed to serve the rapidly expanding oil and gas industry in this region, he said, adding that it was not overtly optimistic to say that Asian Supply Base's annual profit may eventually be as much as a billion ringgit when these oil and gas complexes become operational.

On the micro economic level, Pulau Daat, Pulau Muara and Pulau Kuraman together with Sabah's oil and gas industry coming up in Kimanis and Sipitang would form a cluster that, if relevant parties can overcome their self interest, will generate tremendous amount of synergies.

In a nutshell, he said Sabah, Labuan and Brunei can become an attractive destination for investment in oil and gas.

"There is no need for any party to entertain suspicion or jealousy.

The market can easily accommodate the interest of all the stake holders," he said.

"Malaysians are duty bound to get our act together as soon as possible.

Dilly dallying will be very costly for our economic well being and that of our future generations," he said.