BY DESMOND DAVIDSON
The Swiss-based rainforest advocacy group Bruno Manser Fund (BMF), in a new attack on Sarawak, claimed the 500km Petronas gas pipeline (SSGP) has left a “trail of destruction” in the rainforest between the Sabah oil and gas terminal (SOGT) in Kimanis to the liquefied natural gas (LNG) plant in Bintulu, Sarawak.
BMF, on its new Sarawak geoportal, said that by shrouding the project in secrecy and for its failure to disclose the exact line of the SSGP, it has given rise for concern.
It claimed the less than transparent project had forced local communities to erect several blockades out of concern for damage to their environment and illegal extraction of timber for the construction of the pipeline within native customary rights (NCR) lands through which the line passes.
It added it was for these reasons the native Penan communities had asked Petronas to fulfil their demands for compensation.
Offshore Sabah, Petronas is developing the new oil and gas fields of Gumusut/Kakap, Kinabalu Deep and East, Kebabangan and Malikai, while onshore, it is developing the SOGT and SSGP.
The SOGT will receive, store and export crude oil as well as receive, process, compress and transport the gas produced from the fields off Sabah.
Covering an area of about 250 acres, the SOGT will have the capacity to handle up to 300,000 barrels of crude oil per day and 1 billion standard cubic feet of gas per day.
The SSGP pipeline will transport gas from the SOGT to MLNG Bintulu for processing into liquefied natural gas for export.
BMF said its new geoportal also provides insight into Sarawak’s mega dam plans and the villages that would be affected by the implementation of the dams.
Sarawak's new industrialisation plan calls for the construction of 12 hydroelectric dams to harness its hydroelectric potential to power the mega plants multi-national companies are setting up in the state's industrial corridor – the Sarawak Corridor of Renewable Energy (Score).
The dams, BMF estimated, would flood more than 2,300 sq km of tropical rainforest and would directly or indirectly effect an estimated population of 30,000 to 50,000 people.
The Sarawak state government has so far ignored the strong protests of BMF and other environmental groups, both locally and overseas.
In early February, former chief minister Tan Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud announced the state would build two more dams soon, on the Baleh and Baram rivers. – March 3, 2014.
~ The Malaysian Insider