November 16, 2011

New Oil Discovery To Further Develop Downstream Activities In Sabah

KOTA KINABALU, Nov 16 -- The new discovery of oil, 100km off the northwest coast of Kota Kinabalu, Sabah by Petronas indicates the possibility of finding more oil fields in the region.

Associate Prof Dr Rosalam Sarbatly, Dean of Engineering and Information Technology, Universiti Malaysia Sabah, believes the discovery would not only strengthen the upstream production but also encourage further development of downstream activities, citing recent ongoing projects such as the Sabah Oil and Gas Terminal, Sabah-Sarawak Gas Pipeline and Ammonia-Urea plant in Sipitang.

"I would like to congratulate all Sabahans for the "gift" from Mother Nature. Following the discovery, the foreseeable lifespan of oil and gas production in the state is significantly enhanced, implying long-term economic benefits," he told Bernama here Wednesday.

Rosalam was commenting on Petronas Carigali Sdn Bhd's "significant oil discovery" offshore Sabah via the Wakid-1 well in Block 2G-2J.

Preliminary estimates put the well's reserves at 227 million barrels of oil equivalent while production tests in three different reservoirs yielded a maximum production rate of 8,200 barrels per day.

He said currently, Sabah had about 11 trillion cubic feet of gas and 1.5 billion barrels of oil in its reserves, contributing approximately 12 per cent and 25 per cent of Malaysia's gas and oil reserves, respectively.

Rosalam said the diversity of downstream activities would greatly enhance the benefits of the discovery, involving various operations such as processing, refining, storage, transportation and distribution.

"It is also expected to create a wide range of job opportunities for the locals. Direct accessibility to energy could also boost the development of local industries.

"All these will provide a continuous thrust to the development of local business and trading on a long-term scale," he added.

In this respect, Rosalam expressed the importance of human capital for optimising the benefits of the discovery.

"Pool of talents with technical knowledge is essential in supporting both upstream and downstream activities. Without them, the oil is only good for exporting.

"As the dean of Engineering and Information Technology, we are committed to give full support in terms of human resource development to the state," he said.

Rosalam said presently, the university is the first in Malaysia to offer a Masters degree in Oil and Gas Engineering. - BERNAMA

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