KUCHING: Steps must be taken to seal off abandoned oil wells in Miri city, said Sibuti MP Lukanisman Awang Sauni.
Responding to a recent find by the public of a hole foaming, believed to be leaking liquefied natural gas at one of the sites of an abandoned oil well, he said the emitted gas might be hazardous to the public.
“There is a need for oil and gas companies to seal off the abandoned oil wells in Miri for the safety of the public as it may produce gas that can pose danger to the public.”
Lukanisman said for Miri city, it had been home to oil and gas exploration with the first oil well – the Grand Old Lady in Canada Hill which was first operated in 1910.
“In 2016, Petroliam Nasional Berhad (Petronas) sealed off an abandoned oil well at Bulak-Setap 03.
“Based on a market survey of an oil and gas company, there are a total of 20 oil wells that need to be sealed off,” he said.
The Sibuti MP said regardless, the discovery of the gas could be viewed positively for Miri being an oil and gas producing area.
“The exploration at offshore as well as the transfer of operations to Bintulu, Kuala Lumpur and Sabah has affected Miri negatively as it was formerly known as a vibrant oil town.
“I hope that the issue of the abandoned oil wells will be settled professionally while taking into account the safety aspect as well as the economic potential from the sealing off of the oil wells,” he said.