KUCHING: Sarawak Petroleum Contractors Association (Speca) president Datuk Rahman Lariwoo is of the view that while there is certainly no dispute over what resource potential James Shoal near Bintulu holds, there will be roadblocks presented by China.
“On top of that, Sarawak is not recognised as a sovereign country. That means we need to get Malaysia as a whole to deal with the territorial dispute. It can take years to settle this matter,” he said when contacted today.
“I hope our state government can do something about this,” he said.
On Thursday, Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg said Sarawak was looking into the possibility of exploring James Shoal, explaining he had read in a book that the area had been studied by scientists and was believed to contain around 93 billion barrels worth of oil.
However, James Shoal is viewed by the international community as disputed territory, with China and Malaysia making claims over the area.
Meanwhile, Speca executive committee member Datuk Ir Janang Bungsu described this as a very interesting move by the state government, adding it was an initiative worth exploring as it would mark the rightful boundaries which belong to Malaysia and Sarawak in particular.
“Further in-depth studies on that area are worth pursuing, as based on preliminary raw data that we have, it shows a great potential of wealth can be discovered.
“Maybe the state government with Petroleum Sarawak Berhad (Petros) should try to kick start the study and gather as much information as possible including but not limited to seismic data in that area,” he said.
He added that physical detail studies could follow suit with experts in the particular field.
“This has great potential for economic development and this move will enhance our presence in the area, which China has shown a lot of interest in,” Janang said, pointing out that James Shoal was not far from Sarawak’s shores.
Sarawak Oil and Gas Workers Association (Sogwa) president Jamal Abdullah said the potential exploration of James Shoal would be a positive move, benefiting Sarawak in particular.
“Sarawakians should be taken into consideration first in terms of employment,” he urged.
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