Crown Prince officiates SEL, BSP Flagship Solar PV Plant launch

Daniel Lim

A significant milestone was observed yesterday, with the opening of the Seria Energy Lab (SEL), formerly known as the Oil and Gas Discovery Centre (OGDC), and the launching of the Brunei Shell Petroleum Company Sdn Bhd (BSP) Flagship Solar PV Plant.

Both ceremonies were graced by His Royal Highness Prince Haji Al-Muhtadee Billah ibni His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah, the Crown Prince and Senior Minister at the Prime Minister’s Office, as Chairman of the Brunei Shell Joint Venture Companies Board of Directors.

“Both of these investments have given us much pride and encouragement in seeing so many Bruneians stepping up and building their expertise in the areas of renewable energy, energy transition and STEM advocacy,” said BSP Managing Director and Shell Country Chair Brunei Agnete Johnsgaard-Lewis.

Both the SEL and BSP Flagship Solar PV Plant will provide a platform for BSP to reinforce its contributions towards Brunei Darussalam’s efforts as a low-carbon nation.

The BSP Flagship Solar PV Plant also signifies BSP’s strong commitment to pursue energy diversification and decarbonisation, as well as supporting the country’s target of increasing the total share of renewable energy to at least 30 per cent of total power generation capacity by 2035.

Furthermore, SEL also provides the avenues to support aspiring students and youth on the future of renewable energy, environment and innovation through Shell’s NXplorers, which is a Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) educational programme; as well as the many new exhibits found in the halls of the premise.

Upon arrival at the BSP Head Office helipad in Seria, His Royal Highness was greeted by Minister at the Prime Minister’s Office and Minister of Finance and Economy II Dato Seri Setia Dr Awang Haji Mohd Amin Liew bin Abdullah, as a member of the BSP Board of Directors; Acting Minister of Energy Dato Seri Paduka Awang Haji Matsatejo bin Sokiaw; Acting Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Energy Pengiran Haji Jamra Weira bin Pengiran Haji Petra; Acting Belait District Officer Mohammad Yassin bin Haji Ahmed; and Deputy Managing Director and Technical Director of BSP Yap Kong Fah.

His Royal Highness Prince Haji Al-Muhtadee Billah ibni His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah, the Crown Prince and Senior Minister at the Prime Minister’s Office, as Chairman of the Brunei Shell Joint Venture Companies Board of Directors, tours the Seria Energy Lab. PHOTO: BAHYIAH BAKIR

At the SEL, His Royal Highness was welcomed by Deputy Minister of Finance and Economy (Fiscal) and member of the BSP Board of Directors Dato Seri Paduka Awang Haji Ahmaddin bin Haji Abd Rahman; and the BSP management team, led by Johnsgaard-Lewis.

A Surah Al-Fatihah and Doa Selamat were recited by Chief Syar’ie Judge Pehin Orang Kaya Paduka Seri Utama Dato Paduka Seri Setia Haji Awang Salim bin Haji Besar.

In her speech, Johnsgaard-Lewis described how the nation’s first commercial oil field was discovered just a few kilometres away, marking the formation of the Seria Oilfield exactly 92 years ago.

“This significant milestone marked the discovery of the Seria Oilfield, Asia’s longest producing field, and the birth of Brunei’s energy industry. Since then, the partnership between the Government of 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, and Royal Dutch Shell has celebrated many milestones.”

“We thrived through the country’s independence, contributed to Brunei’s nation-building, and continue to fuel Brunei’s future until today,” she said.

Johnsgaard-Lewis detailed the exhibits on display at the SEL exhibition hall, which was designed on the basis of cultivating today’s youth into becoming tomorrow’s leaders.

“With its five new interactive exhibitions and together with its all-Bruneian team of proactive educators, the Seria Energy Lab will shape Brunei Darussalam’s future scientists, engineers and even pilots.”

“Using STEM, the Seria Energy Lab captures the imagination and fuels the inspiration of visitors to be part of Brunei Darussalam’s future energy journey,” she said.

Johnsgaard-Lewis also gave an outline of the BSP Flagship Solar PV Plant, Brunei’s second solar plant which was completed in under seven months, with nearly 7,000 state-of-the-art solar panels being installed across four hectares of land.

“I am proud that this is achieved by BSP’s almost entirely Bruneian team in partnership with international experts. After all that hard work, together we are excited to announce that the 3.3-megawatt peak plant produced its first power last week, on March 30,” she said.

The plant will offset some of the power used by the BSP Head Office, as it is capable of generating electricity equivalent to around 600 households per year.

“For the nation, this is our commitment to supporting the country’s target of producing 100 Megawatt peak of renewable energy by 2025,” said Johnsgaard-Lewis.

She added, “Both the opening of SEL and launch of the BSP Flagship Solar PV Plant helps to further reinforce our contribution to pursuing energy diversification and decarbonisation, towards becoming a low-carbon nation.

“At the same time, I also am certain that this will help shape a more climate-resilient, environmentally-innovative Brunei Darussalam that is akin to its economic aspirations; and we will achieve this together as we look forward to deepening our partnership for decades to come, and for BSP to continue fuelling Brunei’s future.”

The ceremony continued with His Royal Highness launching the SEL by witnessing a video presentation of the newly renovated facilities, followed with the signing of a commemorative plaque.

His Royal Highness also received a pesambah from Johnsgaard-Lewis.