September 9, 2017

Search for Petroleum Sarawak Petros CEO Intensifies

Chief Minister reportedly wants a Sarawakian for the post. 
Salient points

> On the lookout for a Sarawakian CEO with oil and gas experience.
> Shortlist includes senior officials of oil and gas companies.
> Board of Petros has proven track record.

THE head-hunt for a chief executive officer (CEO) for Petroleum Sarawak Bhd (Petros) has been intensified following the appointment of the board of directors. The board, headed by chairman Tan Sri Hamid Bugo, has been tasked by the state government to search for a qualified CEO for the newly formed state-owned oil exploration company. It is learnt that Chief Minister Datuk Amar Johari Tun Openg wants the CEO to be a Sarawakian.

Beside the CEO, Petros is recruiting other key management executives to enable it to be operation-ready by the first quarter of 2018.

One industry player has come up with two potential CEO candidates - Ruslan Abdul Ghani and Roni Adrian - while Datuk Wee Yaw Hin is the third candidate named by another source. Ruslan is currently senior general manager (production and operations management) with Malaysian Petroleum Management, Petronas (Petroliam Nasional Bhd). Roni, 58, is Petra Eneregy Bhd chief operating officer (COO) and Petra Resources Sdn Bhd CEO. He had served in Sarawak Shell Bhd, Brunei Shell Petroleum Co and Ranhill Bhd as its executive vice-president (petroleum and chemical).

In terms of international exposure, Roni had been employed by Carigali-Triton Operating Co in major development projects for oilfields in Japan and South Korea. He was said to be instrumental in the development of marginal oilfields in Murphy Sarawak Oil Co Ltd.

Wee, also 58, had worked in the O&G industry for more than 30 years, and retired as Petronas executive vice-president and CEO of upstream business last year. For a big part of his career, Wee served Shell in various capacities in Malaysia and overseas and his last position was vice-president Malaysia for Upstream International Asia and managing director of Shell Malaysia Exploration and Production companies. His other top post stint was with Talisman Energy Malaysia.

Wee is currently Cagamas Bhd’s non-executive director.

“Both Ruslan and Roni are Sarawakians with strong experiences in the O&G industry.

“They are credible candidates to become Petros CEO,” the player who named them tells StarBizWeek.

Another source considers Wee an ideal choice for the Petros’s top job based on his vast experience serving top positions, especially in upstream exploration activities, in the national oil company and other oil majors. “Wee’s experience and knowledge in upstream exploration works is very relevant to what Petros is going to undertake. Besides he has good working relationship with the various oil majors,” adds the source.

However,another industry player thinks Wee is unlikely to accept the CEO post if offered by Petros as the latter is more interested to serve in the international arena, if he wants to return to the O&G industry, in view of the good relationship he had built over the years.

It is not known if Petros has shortlisted any candidates for the CEO post as Hamid could not be reached as he is away on a business trip. Hamid is former Sarawak state secretary and had served in Malaysia LNG Sdn Bhd.

Petros board comprises four other directors - Datuk Mohammad Medan Abdullah, Sharbini Suhaili, Heng Hock Cheng and Zuraimi Sabki. All of them had served in various capacities in the oil and gas (O&G) industry.

Mohammad, who is Bintulu Port Holdings Bhd CEO, was previously director of Petronas Gas Bhd and Petronas Dagangan Bhd and was Petronas group corporate affairs senior general manager.

Sharbini is Sarawak Energy Bhd CEO. His exposure in the global O&G industry began with the Royal Dutch Shell in 1986 as its pipeline engineer. He was former Sabah Shell Malaysia general manager (upstream operations) before joining Petronas as its vice-president (international production for upstream operations) in 2010.

Heng retired as Shell Gas & Power Malaysia managing director in 2006 after 34 years of services in the O&G industry, encompassing upstream and downstream sectors as well as gas and power divisions. He has served with various Shell entities in Malaysia, United Kingdom, Holland and China.

Zuraimi, who is currently Sarawak Public Works Department director,had served Shell in his early years of career. He is Brooke Dockyard and Engineering Works Corporation former CEO and currently its board member. The 105-year-old Brooke Dockyard is one of the two Petronas-licensed offshore module fabricators in Sarawak.

The Chief Minister had expressed strong confidence in the composition of Petros board of directors as “they are all experienced industry players with strong and proven records, and had served in key positions in the O&G industry.”

“The appointment of a credible board will ensure that Petros will advance in the right strategic direction as well as operating with a sound business model in achieving its intended objectives.The primary objective of setting up Petros is to enable Sarawak to participate in the upstream oil and gas development, particularly in the exploration and extraction of oil and gas within Sarawak waters,” says Johari.

Source: The Star