Miri, Where it all began
1910s - The Beginning
Miri occupies a very special place in the history of Malaysia - it was on top of Canada Hill that the first oil well was drilled by Shell in 1910. This laid the foundation for our national petroleum industry, which would help to fuel the nation’s socio-economic development and propel Miri and its people from a sleeping village into the city of today.
The First Oil Well in Malaysia
Drilled By Cable Tool Method
Spudded - 10 August 1910
Completed - 22 December 1910
Original Depth - 452 Feet
Last Production Depth- 1096 Feet
Abandoned - 31 October 1972
Estimated Total Production - 660,000 Barrels
Last Production Rate - 7 Barrels Per Day
Total No. of Wells In Miri Field - 624
Total Production In Miri Field 80 Million Barrels
In 1882, the then Resident of Baram, Mr.Claude Champion de Crisping, first recorded the presence of oil in Sarawak. He wrote in his diary about oil found in some 18 wells dug by hand by the locals in Miri. He suggested to the then Rajah Sarawak, Sir Charles Brooke, that an investigation be made, but nothing was done, probably because during that time the demand for oil in Sarawak was nil. Two years later, he again recommended “the oil district near the mouth of the Miri River be thoroughly searched and reported on”. In 1888, his successor, Dr Charles Hose, studied the oil seepages and compiled a map of the area showing no less than 28 oil seepages.
An anthropologist, geographer, and an avid collector of Natural Specimens, Hose had managed to explore and map oil seepages occurring in the Baram area. He also built up an invaluable collection on Sarawak’s natural history. It was through all these frequent trips that he also discovered that unpolished rice was the cure to beriberi.
However, it was only on his return to England on retirement in 1904, that he managed to get permission from the Rajah to share his maps and samples with the Anglo-Saxon Petroleum Company. (A Shell Company based in London) Chief Geologist, Dr. Josef Theodor Erb was sent by the company, after it had obtained the concession and lease from the Rajah, along with Dr.Hose as its guest to investigate Dr.Hose’s finds.
- The presence of oil in Miri was recorded
- Oil seepages in the Baram, Miri area explored and mapped
1910s – Discovery
10 August 1910
- Drilling began on Canada Hill, Miri.
22 December 1910
- Oil was struck at the depth of 136 metres at Miri Well No.1. The oil well later became known as the ‘The Grand Old Lady of Miri’.
- Sarawak Crude began to be exported globally.
- Shell completed Malaysia’s first refinery at Brighton Beach – Tanjung Lobang, Miri.
- A new and improved sealine constructed in Lutong, 11km from Miri. Longest sealine in the world at the time.
- The Shell Refinery from Brighton Beach – Tanjung Lobang, Miri moved to Lutong, Miri
- Sarawak Oilfields Limited (SOL) was formed to take over the concession rights from Anglo-Saxon Petroleum Company Limited. Miri by now had about 40 shophouses, an English-medium school and a Chinese- medium school. The increase in Shell’s activities also saw the construction of the Miri-Lutong road in 1924.
- Production from the Miri Land Field reached a peak in 1929 with a daily average of 15,000 barrels. However this rate declined after World War II, with no new fields discovered elsewhere in Sarawak. SOL included Brunei in its exploration activities.
- Soon after the news of Pearl Harbour, Shell set about shutting down the Miri Field. During the world war, The Shell headquarters in Miri was bombed and the Lutong refinery was severely damaged. Losing countless rock and paleontological records since 1910.
Second World War
- Japanese invaded Sarawak.
- Second World War, Shell Offices in Miri town were bombed and the Lutong Refinery damaged.
- Post-war reconstruction commenced; the Shell Office in Miri town was relocated to Lutong, Miri.
Coming of Age
- Shell in Sarawak received a marine prospecting license to explore the Sarawak Continental Shelf.
- Sarawak Oilfields Limited (SOL) surrendered 75% of its concession, which expired in 1968.
- Sarawak Oilfields Limited renamed to Sarawak Shell Oilfields Limited with a new Head Office built in Lutong, Miri.
Production Goes Offshore
- Offshore exploration began in Sarawak.
- The first Single Buoy Mooring was installed offshore Miri.
- The ‘Orient Explorer’, a mobile drilling rig, discovers oil at Patricia and Temana, offshore Bintulu.
- Discovery of the Baram Field – Malaysia’s first offshore oilfield with commercial potential.
- West Lutong Field discovered.
- Confirmation of large reserves of natural gas in Central Luconia Province. These natural gas reserve lie some 125km to 275km offshore Bintulu, in water depths ranging from 60-120 meters.
- Sarawak Shell Oilfields Limited renamed Sarawak Shell Berhad (SSB). Offshore production began at West Lutong in July.
- SSB drilled more wells than any other Royal Dutch Shell Plc. company outside the United States.
- Shell staff began to migrated to Lutong. Their equipments and records were transferred.
- Miri Land Field abandoned, and Miri Well No. 1 was restored to its original splendor and handed to the Sarawak State Government as a monument.
- Sarawak Shell Berhad became independent from Brunei Shell Petroleum.
- Miri Well No. 1 declared a State Monument on 31st of October.
- Petroleum Development Act was enacted, followed by the incorporation of PETRONAS as the national oil company.
- Oil production reached 100,000 barrels per day.
- PETRONAS and Shell signed two production-sharing contracts (PSC) for offshore Sarawak, offshore Sabah, and a land block in the Dent Peninsula, Eastern Sabah.
- Lutong Refinery commenced supplying Sabah and Sarawak with Premium and Regular motor gasoline.
- The company built the Bintulu Crude Oil Terminal.
- The birth of Malaysia Liquefield Natural Gas Sendirian Berhad (MLNG).
The Gas Revolution
- St Joseph platform, Sabah began production of oil.
- Barton platform, Sabah began production.
- Shell’s first natural gas field E11 in Sarawak came on-stream, with a structure measuring about 1,000 feet end-to-end.
- First natural gas shipped from MLNG plant in Bintulu, Sarawak.
- F23 in Sarawak, Malaysia’s second gas complex, tied-in to E11, began production.
- Sabah Gas came on stream through Samarang Gas Complex.
- Sabah Shell Petroleum Company Limited (SSPC) drilled Malaysia’s first horizontal well in the Erb West field, 180km offshore Labuan.
- SSB started the corporate social responsibility programme called, “We Care, We Share” that spanned around Sarawak, Sabah and Labuan.
- SSB initiated the inaugural Kenyalang Press Award to motivate and celebrate the Sarawak media fraternity.
- Kinabalu-1 of the SB-1 acreage struck oil in Sabah.
- Shell Malaysia Upstream became first in the Royal Dutch Shell Plc group to set the world safety record by clocking 10 million work hours without lost time injury.
- Project LINK launched together with Ministry of Education Malaysia to produce locally qualified welders for the oil and gas in Sarawak and Sabah.
Safety & Technology Leaders
- Shell’s Lutong Refinery, Malaysia’s first refinery, awarded MS-ISO 9002-1991 by SIRIM.
- MLNG DUA PSC was signed to develop 11 gas fields for supply to the MLNG DUA Plant in Bintulu.
- Datuk Tan Ek Kia became the first Sarawakian and Managing Director for Shell Malaysia Upstream.
- SSPC found gas in SB-1 off Sabah.
- Kebabangan field in Sabah was discovered by Shell in 1994.
- D35 in Sarawak produced first oil.
- SSPC’s first deep-water PSC was signed for Block G offshore Sabah.
- Labuan Crude Oil Terminal celebrated 20 years, starting with 3,600 barrels per day to 100,000 barrels per day.
- SSB installed the M3PQ-A integrated production module 225km off Bintulu, breaking two world records at that time - the 7,700 tonne topsides was the biggest in Asia, and the most remote offshore platform.
- Shell Malaysia Upstream Professorial Chair at Universiti Malaysia Sarawak (UNIMAS) was established.
- M1 in Miri, the second gas field of the MLNG-DUA development, produced first gas.
- SSB’s second deep-water PSC was signed for Block E, offshore Sarawak with water depths up to 2,000metres.
- The Lutong Refinery became the first Malaysian refinery and second within the Royal Dutch Shell Plc Group to clock 10 years without lost time injuries.
- Shell Malaysia Upstream was the first to apply multi-lateral well drilling technology in Asia Pacific region, at South Furious, Sabah.
- Kinabalu (KNDP-A) came on stream ahead of schedule, the first unmanned and fully remote-controlled platform in Sabah, a field developed exclusively with horizontal or multi-lateral wells.
- SSPC found oil in its first deep-water well in Block G, offshore Sabah.
- SSB signed its 15th PSC for Block SK-312.
- The Lutong Refinery, Miri was decommisioned in June 2003, after achieving 17 years LTI free and being operational since 1917.
- Miri was officially declared a city in the state of Sarawak.
- Shell Malaysia Upstream Professorial Chair in Petroleum Geoscience at Universiti Teknologi PETRONAS in Perak was established.
- Shell became part of the KPOC Joint operating company, together with PCSB and Conoco Phillips to develop the 1st of the 3 cluster fields in this Deepwater block.
- Shell Malaysia Sustainable Development Grants was launched to help NGOs and special interest groups initiate community and environmental projects.
Into the Future
- Shell Malaysia Upstream celebrated 100 years of upstream operations in Malaysia.
- SSB signed Gas Sales Agreement for SK308.
- Malaysia hosted the inaugural Shell Eco-marathon Asia at Sepang, Selangor
- SSB signed exploration PSC for SK319, deep-water blocks 2B and SK318, offshore Sarawak.
- Shell Malaysia’s first Deep-water platform - Gumusut-Kakap field in Sabah commenced production through an innovative linking or tie-back to the Kikeh production facility.
- SSB signed a Joint Research Development agreement with Petronas Research Sendirian Berhad to pursue research collaboration for improving recovery in Baram Delta Operations
- Shell Traffic Games celebrated its 50th year in Sarawak.
- Shell Asia Pacific Wells Learning Hub opened in Miri, the first in the region to use advanced simulators.
- SSPC signed agreement with the Sabah Department of Fisheries for the Fish Aggregation Device project, creating alternative and sustainable fish catch areas.
- SSPC took Final Investment Decision to develop Malikai offshore Sabah.
- SSB announced Final Investment Decision on E6 field development offshore Sarawak.
- SSB found exploration success at Rosmari-1 well in Block SK318.
- Shell Malaysia Safety Award was launched to recognise contractors and partners for exemplary HSE performance.
- Piasau Camp (former residential area for SSB’s senior staff) was officially gazetted as Piasau Nature Reserve by the state government of Sarawak.
- Gumusut-Kakap in Sabah semi-submersible floating production system produced first oil, with a peak annual production of 135,000 barrels per day, equivalent to 25% of Malaysia’s production.
- Datuk Iain Lo became the first Sarawakian Chairman for Shell Malaysia.
- Earth breaking ceremony for Shell Malaysia Upstream’ s new production chemistry lab building in Miri, the largest upstream oil and gas laboratory in Sarawak.
- Shell Malaysia LiveWIRE a new youth entrepreneur programme was introduced.
- Shell Malaysia debuts #ShellSelamatSampai Road Safety programme for students and community.
- Malikai Tension Leg Platform (TLP), the second deepwater project in Sabah produced first oil.
- Malikai Deepwater project in Sabah won the Institutes of Engineers (IEW) Outstanding Award – first time in three decades, an oil and gas initiative has been accorded the highest engineers honors
- Malikai in Sabah won the ASEAN Outstanding Engineering Achievement Award from ASEAN Federation of Engineering Organisations – the first and only oil and gas project in Malaysia to win the highest prize in design and construction in ASEAN
- Ministry of Education (MOE) Malaysia recognised SSB for the outstanding contribution towards the ProjekLINK programme.
- SSPC inked Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for Sabah Petroleum Operations Technician (SPOT) Programme with TAS Institute of Oil and Gas.
- Access to Energy (A2E), a social investment programme aims at provision of continuous energy was introduced in Sabah.
- E11 platform in Sarawak received the ‘Malaysian Society for Occupational Safety and Health (MSOSH) OSH Grand Award.
- Gumusut-Kakap in Sabah bagged Gold Merit from the MSOSH OSH Award 2018.
- SSB received a Miri City Mayor’s Award under the corporate category for long-standing contribution through CSR and Social Investment activities.
- SSB won Gold Award, the first for Oil and Gas company, for Lean Management from the Malaysian Productivity Corporation (MPC) under Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI)
- SSB and Curtin University Malaysia launched the SSB Immersion and Digitalisation Module.
- SSB and Department of Environment Malaysia inked a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for Program Kesedaran Alam Sekitar.
- Gorek, Larak and Bakong in Sarawak, the first fully solar powered wellhead platforms came on stream.
- Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed with Universiti Malaysia Sabah (UMS) for the launch of Immersion Programme.
- Deployment of PETRONAS FLNG-1 in Sabah waters to evacuate gas from Kebabangan Field to MLNG as a back up to the Sabah Sarawak Gas PipelineMalikai Phase 2 FID in October.
- E6 platform in Sarawak produced crude where SSB made a come back in the oil business after two decades.
- Shell celebrates 110 years of upstream operations in Malaysia.
- Ivan Tan becomes the first Mirian to be appointed as Vice President for Shell Malaysia & Philippines Upstream and Managing Director of SSB and SSPC.