Bandar Seri Begawan - As the fortunes and prices of the world's oil and gas reserves and new discoveries soared and ebbed throughout 2011, the energy sector continued to dominate Brunei Darussalam's economy, which accounted for 62 per cent of its Gross Domestic Product and 90.5 per cent of its total exports.
"The future was unknown and the prospects it offered were not encouraging. As I said, many came, but eventually, only Royal Dutch Shell resolved to stay," highlighted His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam in a titah as His Majesty summed up the extraordinary symbiotic partnership between the Sultanate and the global oil aiant, as Royal Dutch Shell celebrated its 80-year prosperous relationship in the presence of the monarch at its headquarters in the Hague and at Rijswijk, the Netherlands.
The significance of this first-ever visit by the head of its Bruneian shareholder had resulted in the 80-year-old commitment, which is visible through the Brunei Shell Petroleum Company, "whose work is the heart of our national economy".
On February 1, Ken Marnoch took over the appointment as the new Managing Director of Brunei Shell Petroleum Company Sendirian Berhad (BSP), who with 22 years of oil and gas operations, commercial, audit and project management experience across diverse businesses and leadership roles, was on hand to proudly announce the latest major hydrocarbon discovery that was touted to further strengthen Brunei's oil and gas supply, with BSP's successful exploration and significant oil and gas find in its deepwater acreage.
Named Geronggong, the new discovery is situated in the third Offshore Acreage Area, approximately 100 kilometres from the coast and in water that is almost one kilometre deep, which marked the deepest depth that BSP has discovered hydrocarbons in Brunei's acreage.
The new BSP Managing Director stated, "This discovery marks the start of a new chapter in the oil and gas industry of the nation. Deepwater is a challenging arena and extracting oil and gas from such water depths requires different technological expertise. Brunei Shell Petroleum is proud to take the lead in this new area."
With the new official enemy strategy of Brunei calling for a significant increase in oil and gas production output in the decades to come, this deepwater arena was certainly central to these plans.
BSP's Aviation Department noted its zero accident achievement throughout 42 years of service, and by marked the milestone by launching the New Anduki Terminal, in June at Anduki, Seria. Since its inception in 1966, BSP's Aviation Department has played and continues to provide a pivotal role in Brunei's oil and gas business, by providing a vital link for all employees and contractors to offshore locations.
BSP added another notch to its growing list of commendable achievements when it successfully produced its first oil through its Selangkir Iron Duke (SKID) project safely and ahead of schedule - marking yet another major milestone for BSP of another new field coming on stream. Standing in water depths of 50 metres, the SKID platform straddles the Selangkir and Iron Duke Fields, which are located 40 kilometres off the coast of Muara, and is set to develop oil and gas from the Selangkir and Iron Duke Block 11.
On this significant achievement, Ken Marnoch said, "SKID's first oil demonstrates the best in class performance against global project cost and schedule benchmarks in Shell and across the industry."
The "Made in Brunei" Selangkir Well Jacket-01 platform, weighing 1,750 tonnes was all designed, built and installed within the previous year of 2010 - making it nine months faster than any previously completed projects in Brunei. By July, SKID had already produced its first gas from the Selangkir field and by October, SKID's first oil production was made in less than two years from the Final Investment Decision.
In August 2011, BSP signed an agreement with Universiti Brunei Darussalam and the Ministry of Education for the Brunei Entrepreneurship Education Scheme (BEES), which provided an opportunity for secondary students to start their own businesses under the tutelage of BSP staff volunteers as school advisors to work together in advising the students.
This latest programme, which was an extension of LiveWIRE's successes, will come to be embedded into the new subject known as 'Business, Art and Technology' (BAT) in secondary schools and Enterprise Skills unit in Vocational and Technical Education (VTET) programme next year.
Meanwhile in July, BSP in cooperation with the Ministry of Education's Department of Technical Education, sent three teams to participate and represent the country in the 2011 Shell Eco-Marathon (SEM) Asia that was held at the Sepang International Circuit in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
The teams from Mechanical Training Centre and Sultan Bolkiah Vocational School were selected as the country's first-ever representatives that competed with 113 other team from 12 different countries.
The Shell Eco-Marathon is a competition that challenges students to design, build and drive a vehicle that can travel the furthest distance on the least amount of fuel and lowest possible CO2 emissions, which are then tested on the renowned racing circuit for their individual energy-efficiency designs by a panel of judges from experts in the industry and Shell engineers.
That same month, in the monarch's birthday honours list, in recognition of the commitment and dedication by Royal Dutch Shell, His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam on July 15 conferred the medals of 'Most Distinguish Order of Paduka Seri Laila Jasa - Second Class' to Dato Seri Laila Jasa Peter Voser, Chief Executive Officer, Royal Dutch Shell and Dato Seri Laila Jasa Malcolm Brinded, Executive Director, Upstream International, Royal Dutch Shell in conjunction with His Majesty's 65th Birthday.
BSP continued to partner closely with and support the government with its role model of Local Business Development agenda for Brunei Darussalam to achieve the notable aspirations set out in the country's first-ever Energy White Paper.
The company also endeavoured with its proactive support of government initiatives and efforts in setting up its own Humanitarian Fund within the Brunei Shell Joint Venture companies to compliment any humanitarian funds that had been organised by government agencies.
One such example of this is its continued support of government agencies in particular during emergency situations, specifically through the National Oil Spill Contingency Plan (NOSCOP) that was tested during the year with the country's first-ever national oil spill in April.
Its concern for the welfare of the community has also been a continuing directive for BSP, which saw one of the biggest community development projects officially handed over for the Belait District. Known as the 'Pusat Insani', this community hub is built on a five-acre piece of land in Seria Town that was fully funded by BSP and fully completed last year is built on a five-acre land.
The project comprises a multi-purpose hall to accommodate 1,500 guests that can be used for social functions such as weddings, annual gatherings, government events, seminars, exhibitions and indoor games. Located near to Pusat Insani is the Bowling Alley, which is the biggest in the country. Equipped with 24 bowling lanes, a 180 spectator seating area, podium gallery, prayer room, pro-shop and cafe. There are also two cineplexes for 100 moviegoers each.
The Bowling Alley and Cineplex was the ideal choice for the project as there are no such facilities available in the Belait District.
BSP and Brunei Shell Marketing continued to support the government's drive towards economic diversification when it signed a non-binding Memorandum of Understanding with Zhejiang Hengyi on November 20 for the supply of local crude for Zhejiang Hengyi's oil refinery and aromatics cracker project located on Pulau Muara Besar with a production capacity of approximately 135,000 barrels per day.
The project is earmarked to create a significant boost in local employment, create growth opportunities for local companies, indirect economic spin-offs and increase economic activities, such as construction and logistics, as well as training and development opportunities in relevant fields.
Towards the end of the year, BSP was also at the forefront in supporting the Energy Department's vision of providing new job opportunities at the country's first-ever five-day Oil and Gas Job Fair in December.
The Minister of Energy at the Prime Minister's Office, in officiating the job fair, called on the industry to change their recruiting mindset and to take responsibility "to ensure we will all continue to enjoy the peace and share the prosperity", which "should not be regarded just as a by-product of your business activities but rather it is your duty".
According to the Energy White Paper, the sector is aiming for a target of 50,000 employment opportunities by 2035, of which 5,000 has been allocated for professional Bruneians, 35,000 skilled or semi-skilled workers and the remaining 10,000 specifically filled by guest workers.
"Having a job is not only about earning a living but equally important that it is about honour and it is about self-respect and self-esteem," said Pehin Data Singamanteri Colonel (Rtd) Dato Seri Setia Dr Hj Mohd Yasmin bin Hj Umar, Minister of Energy at the Prime Minister's Office. "Having a job is one of the ingredients to make a person a complete being."--Courtesy of Borneo Bulletin