KUALA LUMPUR: Negotiations to tune Sabah with special arrangements over its hydrocarbon resources are underway, but detailed discussions are needed to find a suitable framework for the state.
President of Petroliam Nasional Bhd (Petronas) and Tengku group chief executive Muhammad Taufik Tengku Aziz said the federal government and Sabah have begun discussions and consulting process on contracts and investments in the state.
“We are waiting for the federal government and the state government to invite us as part of the process to bring us to a solution,” he told Bernama and Berita Harian in a recent interview.
Tengku Muhammad Taufik said the value chain, operations and investments between Sarawak and Sabah were different and Petronas needed to align them with what Sabah intended in the deal and what the national oil company could find out.
He noted that the trade settlement agreement signed with the Sarawak government in early December has enabled Petronas to establish the right to participate in the states’ offshore fields on a commercial basis.
If there is participation from state vehicles such as Petroleum Sarawak Bhd (PETROS), we will work with them like any other contractor.
“You know that the trade settlement agreement has given Sarawak the right to mirror and manage what is on the coast and they left Petronas to cultivate and continue offshore investments,” said Tengku Muhammad Taufik.
However, he noted that there would be a challenge to imitate the same framework in Sabah.
“The geology, the production profile and the nature of the business are not identical to Sarawak. “We will have to sit down and think carefully about it in the joint committee,” he added.
In late December last year, Sabah Datuk Deputy Prime Minister Dr Jeffrey Kitingan said Sabah wanted the same benefits given to Sarawak by Petronas, including the sales tax on oil and gas revenues, after the signing of an agreement between Sarawak and the national oil company earlier that month.
Jeffrey said Sabah would ensure she would receive no less than what Sarawak had received under the settlement settlement deal.
He said talks between the Sabah government and Petronas on the issue were expected to take place in early 2021.
On December 7, 2020, Petronas and the Sarawak government signed a trade agreement to resolve issues involving state sales taxes and oil mining laws.
Sabah is expected to collect sales tax on petroleum products worth RM1.25 billion or 27.9 percent of total state revenues in 2021. – Bernama
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