Brunei working towards sustainable future

Izah Azahari

The oil and gas (O&G) industry in Brunei Darussalam has been in operation for more than 90 years since its first oil production in 1929.

“Over the years, an increasing number of wells, pipelines and facilities have reached the end of their economic life and are no longer in operation, and these assets will subsequently need to be decommissioned,” said Minister of Energy Dato Seri Setia Dr Awang Haji Mat Suny bin Haji Mohd Hussein yesterday.

The minister was speaking at the launching of the Energy Theme Week at the International Convention Centre (ICC), with the topic, ‘Energy Transition: Towards a Sustainable Future’.

He added, “To this end, properly planned and responsible decommissioning and restoration activities are important to ensure safety and minimise environmental risks, “By implementing decommissioning and restoration responsibly, we are taking care of our environment towards a

sustainable future. In realising this, the Ministry of Energy (ME) has introduced the Decommissioning and Restoration (D&R) Guidelines for the upstream sector in 2017 under the ‘Brunei Oil and Gas Exploration and Production (E&P) Guidelines’.

“The guideline will ensure a consistent approach for all operators in managing their late life operations and subsequently to carry out D&R activities in a timely and responsible manner, as well as observing all relevant legislations in force.

“The Ministry of Energy, through the Petroleum Authority of Brunei Darussalam, will issue the D&R guideline for the downstream sector of the O&G industry in the near future; and that by having these O&G industry D&R guidelines, it will further strengthen the regulation of D&R activities.”

The minister listed a number of events organised by the ME this week, revolving around energy transition, particularly on renewable energy and the environment via forums, workshops, visit programmes and exhibition participation, by key stakeholders from the energy sector and companies venturing into green energy.

“The focus on ‘Energy Transition: Towards a Sustainable Future’ is in line with the Ministry of Energy’s five-year strategic plan, where one of the strategic objectives is on green energy, with the aim to achieve long-term energy security for Brunei and its environment,” he said.

“Under this strategic objective, the ministry will continue to pursue growth in the renewable energy sector, especially in boosting the nation’s solar energy capacity, as well as playing a significant role in the country’s climate change agenda as the lead agency to reduce carbon emissions in a responsible manner, where the reduction can only be achieved through a better energy mix and more efficient generation and use of energy.

“Moreover, with sustainability being high on today’s global agenda, several modes of energy connectivity have been emphasised, including improvement in generation system performance and power interconnection with the utilisation of renewable energy sources regionally.”

The minister then shared another of the ME’s efforts through the Renewable Energy Policy and Development Forum, co-organised with the Universiti Brunei Darussalam (UBD) as a platform to gather ideas and input to develop the national renewable energy road map, while facilitating stakeholder discussions on preferred policy mechanisms and being part of the ongoing wider engagement between the government and other stakeholders towards achieving the national target of least 30 per cent renewable energy capacity in the power generation mix by 2035.

“To date, Brunei has reached a renewable energy-installed capacity of about 4.9 megawatts. Recently, in April this year, a new Brunei Shell Petroleum (BSP) Flagship 3.3-megawatt Solar Photovoltaic (PV) Plant in Seria was gracefully officiated by His Royal Highness Prince Haji Al-Muhtadee Billah ibni Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzadin Waddaulah, the Crown Prince and Senior Minister at the Prime Minister’s Office, with energy generation equivalent to power 600 homes annually.”

“Together with the 187-kilowatt solar PV system by the Berakas Power Company at the ministry’s headquarters, these two solar plants will contribute to the reduction of approximately 200 tonnes of carbon emissions every year.

Dato Seri Setia Dr Awang Haji Mat Suny shared that His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah ibni Al-Marhum Sultan Haji Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien Sa’adul Khairi Waddien, Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam has consented to the introduction of the Energy Efficiency (Standards and Labelling) Order 2021 (SLO), with the main objective of promoting and ensuring the use of energy-efficient electrical appliances and products in the country.

“This, among others, will help achieve the aspiration to reduce energy intensity to 45 per cent against the base year of 2005 by 2035. This will also be beneficial to consumers, as it will help reduce their electricity bills through reduced electricity consumption,” he said. “In line with this, the ministry will undertake key activities, including roadshows and consultation sessions with relevant agencies; the business community; and consumers, in preparation for the commencement of the order in June 2022.”