Ministry outlines key energy developments

James Kon

In a bid to increase production of the country’s downstream sector, Brunei Fertilizer Industries (BFI) will start operations in the third quarter of this year, with a production capacity of 3,900 metric tonnes per day of urea.

Meanwhile, the growth of the Spin-Off sector in the energy industry is expected to contribute to the solution in addressing the issue of unemployment among the 6,000 local graduates that exist each year.

In terms of clean energy, Brunei Darussalam is considering the use of Tenaga Suria’s Floating Solar and Solar Rooftop technologies for a big-scale solar site, so that the country’s pristine forests will continue to be preserved.

These are some of the key developments on the energy sector’s landscape which were lauded by Minister of Energy Dato Seri Setia Dr Awang Haji Mat Suny bin Haji Mohd Hussein, during a dialogue session between the Ministry of Energy and Legislative Council (LegCo) members, at the Prime Minister’s Office Building Complex.

On the Ministry of Energy’s Strategic Plan of 2020-2025, the minister said, “The strategic plan is crafted towards supporting and achieving the objectives of Brunei Vision 2035, and is also instilled with the values of Maqasid Syariah in all forms of governance in the Ministry of Energy.

“The Strategic Plan also covers the vision and mission of the ministry to lead in a more systematic development in the energy sector, comprising the oil and gas sector in upstream, midstream and downstream, renewable energy, alternative energy and electrical power which emphasise socio-economic impact, job creation and people’s well-being in the short, medium and long-term.

“The ministry’s vision is ‘Diverse and sustainable economy’, while its mission is “Led by Bruneian for the prosperity of the nation’.”

On energy sector landscape, he said, “Although 2020 was filled with challenges and uncertainty, there were also many successes that we achieved together. In a climate of volatile global oil prices, our country continued to uphold its commitment on production of upstream energy production, and fulfilling its export responsibilities to the buyers of crude oil and liquefied natural gas.

Minister of Energy Dato Seri Setia Dr Awang Haji Mat Suny bin Haji Mohd Hussein at the dialogue session. PHOTO: JAMES KON

“Transformation of Brunei Darussalam’s oil and gas sector has already begun with the development downstream energy industry. Among these are oil refineries and the Pulau Muara Besar petrochemical project which began operations since November 2019, with the capacity of processing as much as 175,000 barrels per day of crude oil, and generating eight million tonnes of petroleum and petrochemical products per year.

“Brunei Darussalam became a joint partner of Japan in 2020, for the first Hydrogen Supply Chain Demonstration Project, known as the Advanced Hydrogen Energy Chain Association for Technology Development (AHEAD).

“Throughout its implementation in 2020, this project has proven the technological capabilities of transporting hydrogen energy at atmospheric temperatures, through conventional transportation, across the sea. In the long term, it is hoped that this hydrogen energy would be able to reach an optimal price, so that it can used as one of the alternative sources of clean energy.”

The minister said, “It has been more than 90 years since the start of commercial activities in the oil and gas sector. The year 2022 will mark 50 years since the arrival of the first liquefied natural gas (LNG) cargo from Brunei Darussalam to Japan. The oil and gas sector achieved maturity long ago, and it is time to build a new energy landscape according to the digitisation movement and global clean energy transformation.

“Brunei Darussalam will continue its deepwater exploration. The country’s involvement will bring in specialised expertise and capabilities. The exploration is hoped to supply a new a volume of gas and crude oil, to further encourage the economic growth of the country.”

He said, “The global demand for natural liquefied natural gas decreased as much as eight per cent in 2020; however, the economic recovery in European and Southeast Asia is expected to rely on energy resources. As a pioneer in the production of liquefied natural gas in the region, Brunei Darussalam will continue to explore ways to improve the country’s LNG plant operations, to strengthen its position as an guaranteed supplier.

“Among the Ministry of Energy’s objectives is making Brunei Darussalam into a centre for downstream energy industry in the regional market.

“As per the Legislative Council (LegCo) members visit last Wednesday, the new Brunei Fertilizer Industries (BFI), will commence operations in the third quarter of this year, with a production capacity of 3,900 metric tonnes per day of urea. Insya Allah, the project will further boost production of the country’s downstream sector.

“Progress in the country’s energy sector will provide business opportunities through spin-offs in upstream, downstream energy sector and electric power which can benefit local entrepreneurs, including providing employment opportunities for locals. “Insya Allah, the ministry’s efforts to accelerate the growth of the spin-off sector in the energy industry are expected to contribute towards resolving the issue of unemployment among the 6,000 local graduates that emerge every year.

“Among the spin-offs which have been identified are Decommissioning and Restoration (D&R) activities for the closure and rehabilitation of facilities, as well as the old sites in the oil and gas sector.

In addition to the positive economic impact from the activity, it can encourage safe old assets management, including the preservation of the natural environment and public safety.”

“The growth of the upstream and downstream energy sector is planned evenly with the development of Green Energy, to ensure a sustainable future for our country. As the LegCo members witnessed during their visit to Tenaga Suria Brunei (TSB), solar energy has been proven as a high-potential green energy source.

“The preservation of nature and the country’s green image are important aspects in the construction of the big-scale solar site. The Ministry of Energy will consider Tenaga Suria technologies such as Floating Solar and Solar Rooftop, so that the country’s forest reserves will continue to be preserved and remain unaffected.”

“In the hope of further developing green energy in Brunei Darussalam, the Ministry of Energy is working closely with the Ministry of Transport and InfoCommunications through the Electric Vehicles Joint Task Force (EVJTF), in preparing policy and infrastructure for the use of electric vehicles (EVs).

“The introduction of EVs in the domestic market will enable the people to choose a more efficient mode of transport in terms of energy usage and the reduction of the carbon footprint in daily public life. Insya Allah, the ministry will continue its efforts in promoting the use of more efficient energy to all levels of the community.”

The session was also attended by Deputy Minister of Energy Dato Seri Paduka Awang Haji Matsatejo bin Sokiaw, Permanent Secretary Haji Azhar bin Haji Yahya, and Deputy Permanent Secretary Pengiran Haji Jamra Weira bin Pengiran Haji Petra, as well as officials from the ministry, the Department of Electrical Services (DES), Electricity Authority Brunei Darussalam (AENBD), the Safety, Health and Environment National Authority (SHENA) and the Petroleum Authority of Brunei Darussalam (PA).

In his presentation, Haji Azhar said the ministry is working closely with agencies to ensure the successful implementation of projects under the Ministry of Energy’s Strategic Plan for the year 2020 – 2025.

The permanent secretary presented the eight strategic objectives under this plan, aimed at realising the vision for a sustainable and diverse energy sector, which includes the development of downstream industries and the growth of green energy.

The presentation was followed by a question-and-answer session, involving the relevant heads of divisions and leads from the Ministry of Energy and its departments, as well as from relevant agencies.

Collaboration with the LegCo members in raising awareness among the public with regards to energy sector priorities is one of the contributing factors to the success of the ministry’s Strategic Plan of 2020 – 2025. This is especially crucial for initiatives such as encouraging safe and prudent use of energy and electrical appliances; inspiring a growth mindset for employment and entrepreneurship in the energy sector; and promoting the use of clean and renewable energy technologies.

The dialogue session marked the second segment of the Ministry of Energy’s engagement with the LegCo members for 2021. The session is an annual event, aimed at fostering a strategic dialogue exchange on the ministry’s pivotal role in developing the country’s energy sector.

The dialogue session was preceded by a working visit to energy facilities and companies in the Belait District, on February 3.