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Kota Kinabalu (Tue): Chief Strategic Liaison Officer of PETRONAS, Mr Idris Ibrahim and his team visited the Institute for Development Studies (Sabah) on Tuesday 15 January 2019. IDS CEO Datuk Dr Johan Arriffin Samad welcomed Mr Idris and had a discussion with him which was also attended by IDS senior researchers and management members. Datuk Dr Johan was briefed by Mr Idris on PETRONAS’ business model opportunities and Sabah’s strategic importance to the oil and gas industry.

Recalling his past experience in leading the MPRC downstream oil and gas study, Dr Johan expressed disappointment that the 2nd Ammonia & Urea project ‘Markisa’, now renamed ‘Saffron’, has not gotten off the ground. This is a big opportunity loss for the state. “There are many petrochemical derivatives spinoffs from the proposed plant including job creation and it is a disappointment that the project has not materialized”, he said.

On the vendor development, Dr Johan emphasized the need for PETRONAS to create more entrepreneurs in the oil and gas sector. He said, Sabah is lacking far behind Sarawak in the vendor development program and it is high time for Petronas to work this issue.

Dr Johan added that the climate to invest in Sabah is highly conducive, as SOGDC Oil and Gas Industrial Park in Sipitang offers many opportunities for PETRONAS to go further downstream. Currently, Project SAMUR production is only available for exports, and does not provide any feedstock to the state. On the gas supply of the remaining 90 million scf of gas for the state, Dr Johan urged PETRONAS to reconfirm the availability and the gas price. “The gas price should also be discounted to make the project commercially viable otherwise, Sabah will be left further behind in downstream oil and gas development,” Said Dr Johan.

Both IDS and PETRONAS agreed that further in-depth discussion is necessary to create a platform to collaborate in developing Sabah’s role in maximizing its natural resources to benefit both the state and the nation. Dr Johan emphasized that the collaboration with PETRONAS in the field of research and exchange of data would be beneficial for the state government to make informed decisions with regards to planning purposes within the oil and gas industry.

Mr Idris also mentioned that PETRONAS is focusing more into community wellbeing and environmental projects in Sabah, as part of their CSR efforts to develop Sabah into becoming a developed oil producing state. Developing sustainable CSR plans and programs would heavily impact Sabah’s local communities to be more independent and productive.

Also present were Rokiah Sulaiman, Head of PETRONAS Sabah & Labuan Group Strategic Communications, Ahmad Faridz Dzulkarnain, Manager of Stakeholder Engagement Strategic Liason Office, Affizan Abdul Malek, Manager of Petronas Sabah & Labuan Group Strategic Communications, and IDS research team, Jenny Liaw, Hasnah Samsudin, Richard Koh, Anita Limjoon and Juliana Ringgingon.

Picture Caption: Datuk Dr Johan Arriffin Samad (2nd from left) presenting a memento to Mr Idris Ibrahim (3rd from left). Also pictured (from left): Rokiah Sulaiman and Jenny Liaw

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