April 4, 2023
KUALA LUMPUR – Malaysia is open to talks over China’s claim on oil and gas in the South China Sea, even as oil and gas exploration by PETRONAS will continue as is, says Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.
The Prime Minister said he had conveyed this “sensitive issue” to Chinese President Xi Jinping during his official visit to China last week.
“As PETRONAS has one of its biggest oil platforms in the South China Sea, the revenue is important for Malaysia.
“However, as China is claiming that it has rights to it, I am willing to sit down and discuss, but as we are a small country dependent on the revenue, we will continue to assert our rights to it,” Anwar said at April’s monthly meeting between the Prime Minister and the staff of the Prime Minister’s Office here yesterday.
While Anwar did not name the specific block of the sea that is being contested, he was most likely referring to the tensions revolving around the development of the Kasawari gas field in the South China Sea in Block SK316, off Sarawak.
PETRONAS Carigali, a wholly owned subsidiary of the national oil company, is the developer and operator of the Kasawari gas field.
First discovered in 2011, Kasawari has been under development for several years, and is estimated to hold about three trillion cubic feet of recoverable gas resources.
Scheduled to come on-stream this year, Kasawari is expected to produce up to 900 million cubic feet of gas per day.
Over the past few years, Beijing has been persistent in challenging its neighbours’ oil and gas activities within their own exclusive economic zones in the South China Sea.