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Cuti panjang 2019

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South Korea Cuts Iran Oil Imports To Zero

South Korea has stopped importing crude oil from Iran ahead of the U.S. sanctions that will enter into effect on November 5, Reuters reports, citing customs data. The country imported zero Iranian oil in September for the first time in six years.

The news is the expected end of a process: since the start of 2018, South Korean imports of Iranian crude had fallen by 49.1 percent from 2017, as of the end of September, to a total 7.15 million tons. The country’s total September imports also declined on an annual basis, by more than a tenth to 10.83 million tons.

The share of U.S. crude went up five-fold to 668,704 tons in the reported month, while imports of Saudi crude declined by 6.9 percent to 3.41 million tons.

South Korea is the world’s fifth-largest crude oil importer, and as such an important client for Iran’s oil alongside China and India. Yet South Korea is a close ally of the United States, and it is no surprise the country opted for full compliance with Washington’s insistence on importers to cut their intake of Iranian crude to zero.

Perhaps the country’s government hopes it will be rewarded with a sanction waiver so it can restart purchases of Iranian oil, although it would be at a much lower rate in all likelihood. Since the start of the Iranian year, in late March, South Korea had been buying Iranian crude at a daily rate of almost 300,000 barrels.

Earlier this year, reports emerged that South Korea was planning to stop buying Iranian oil in July, but official Korean sources refuted the claims, made by unnamed sources. In September, Bloomberg reported that South Korea had stopped importing Iranian earlier, in August, citing shipping data. Yet with Iranian tankers cloaking their journeys to crude oil buyers, official tracking data may not be as reliable as it used to be.


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Income and employment gaps persist among Malaysian households: Khazanah report

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysian households are much better off now compared to the generations before them, but there are still gaps in income and employment that need to be overcome, according to the third installment of the State of Households report.

The report titled “Different Realities”, prepared by the Khazanah Research Institute (KRI), highlighted disparity between household incomes with regards to geographical location, their spending and inequality.

Based on Malaysian household income distribution in 2016, M40 households are defined as those with income between RM4,360 and RM9,619. However, the equivalent state-level thresholds vary significantly.

“A T20 household in Kelantan, Perlis or Pahang may be a B40 household in KL. Households in Melaka, Johor and Penang correspond more closely to national average.

“Differences in household incomes across states could also be explained by urbanization and education factors. Urban households earn more than rural households, and households with heads with higher education and skill levels have much higher household income,” the report said.

In addition, lower-income households spend disproportionately more of their income. Households earning below RM 2,000 consumed almost 95 per cent of their income.

After removing the effect of inflation, households earning below RM 5,000 are consuming less amount of food and less recreation and cultural services, the report added.

KRI said the gap between the rich and the poor could still grow even when relative inequality indicators are declining. The difference of mean income between T20 households and M40/B40 households almost doubled, compared to two decades ago.

“More people could be in poverty even when poverty rate is declining. More than one million households live in ‘relative poverty’ compared to two decades ago,” KRI said. Relative poverty refers to the number of households living under 60 per cent of median household income.

Participation of women in the labour force, meanwhile, has improved since 2010 and they stay longer in the workforce. One-third of the increase in women’s labour force between 2010 and 2016 is due to self-employment.

Nonetheless, the gap of labour force participation rate (LFPR) between men and women remains large compared to other countries.

KRI attributed this to housework, where 2.6 million women stayed out of the labour force compared to 70,000 men. A large proportion of women outside the labour force are mostly educated and of prime working age, it added.

The number of foreign workers, meanwhile, has increased with agriculture, construction and manufacturing the most foreign worker-intensive sectors.

The report said the biggest problem is the mismatch of supply and demand. There are more tertiary-educated native workers, but more semi-skilled jobs are available.

Source: New Straits Times

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The lost art of concentration: being distracted in a digital world

We check our phones every 12 minutes, often just after waking up. Always-on behavior is harmful to long-term mental health, and we need to learn to the hit the pause button

It is difficult to imagine life before our personal and professional worlds were so dominated and “switched on” via smartphones and the other devices that make us accessible and, crucially, so easily distracted and interruptible every second of the day. This constant fragmentation of our time and concentration has become the new normal, to which we have adapted with ease, but there is a downside: more and more experts are telling us that these interruptions and distractions have eroded our ability to concentrate.

We have known for a long time that repeated interruptions affect concentration. In 2005, research carried out by Dr Glenn Wilson at London’s Institute of Psychiatry found that persistent interruptions and distractions at work had a profound effect. Those distracted by emails and phone calls saw a 10-point fall in their IQ, twice that found in studies on the impact of smoking marijuana. More than half of the 1,100 participants said they always responded to an email immediately or as soon as possible, while 21% admitted they would interrupt a meeting to do so. Constant interruptions can have the same effect as the loss of a night’s sleep.

Nicholas Carr picked up on this again in an article in the Atlantic in 2008, before going on to publish his book The Shallows two years later. “Immersing myself in a book or a lengthy article used to be easy,” he wrote. “My mind would get caught up in the narrative or the turns of the argument, and I’d spend hours strolling through long stretches of prose. That’s rarely the case any more. Now my concentration often starts to drift after two or three pages. I get fidgety, lose the thread, begin looking for something else to do. I feel as if I’m always dragging my wayward brain back to the text. The deep reading that used to come naturally has become a struggle.”

 Those distracted by emails and phone calls saw a 10-point fall in their IQ.
Facebook Twitter Pinterest  Those distracted by emails and phone calls saw a 10-point fall in their IQ. Illustration: Andrea Ucini

The impact of interruptions on individual productivity can also be catastrophic. In 2002, it was reported that, on average, we experience an interruption every eight minutes or about seven or eight per hour. In an eight-hour day, that is about 60 interruptions. The average interruption takes about five minutes, so that is about five hours out of eight. And if it takes around 15 minutes to resume the interrupted activity at a good level of concentration, this means that we are never concentrating very well.

In August 2018, research from the UK’s telecoms regulator, Ofcom, reported that people check their smartphones on average every 12 minutes during their waking hours, with 71% saying they never turn their phone off and 40% saying they check them within five minutes of waking. Both Facebook and Instagram announced they were developing new tools designed to limit usage in response to claims that excessive social media use can have a negative impact on mental health.

Continuous partial attention – or CPA – was a phrase coined by the ex-Apple and Microsoft consultant Linda Stone. By adopting an always-on, anywhere, anytime, any place behaviour, we exist in a constant state of alertness that scans the world but never really gives our full attention to anything. In the short term, we adapt well to these demands, but in the long term the stress hormones adrenaline and cortisol create a physiological hyper-alert state that is always scanning for stimuli, provoking a sense of addiction temporarily assuaged by checking in.

Myth of multitasking

With our heavy use of digital media, it could be said that we have taken multitasking to new heights, but we’re not actually multitasking; rather, we are switching rapidly between different activities. Adrenaline and cortisol are designed to support us through bursts of intense activity, but in the long term cortisol can knock out the feel-good hormones serotonin and dopamine in the brain, which help us feel calm and happy, affecting our sleep and heart rate and making us feel jittery.

It would seem then that this physiological adaptation, fostered by our behaviour, is a predominant reason for the poor concentration so many people report. The fact that we are the cause of this is, paradoxically, good news since it hands back to us the potential to change our behaviour and reclaim the brain function and cognitive health that’s been disrupted by our digitally enhanced lives. And this may even be more important than just improving our levels of concentration. Constant, high levels of circulating stress hormones have an inflammatory and detrimental affect on brain cells, suggests the psychiatrist Edward Bullmore, who has written about the link between inflammation and depression in his latest book, The Inflamed Mind. Depression, along with anxiety, is a known factor in knocking out concentration.

Put simply, better concentration makes life easier and less stressful and we will be more productive. To make this change means reflecting on what we are doing to sabotage personal concentration, and then implementing steps towards behavioural change that will improve our chances of concentrating better. This means deliberately reducing distractions and being more self-disciplined about our use of social media, which are increasingly urgent for the sake of our cognitive and mental health.

It takes about three weeks for a repeating behaviour to form a habit, says Jeremy Dean, a psychologist and the author of Making Habits, Breaking Habits. Getting into a new habit will not happen overnight and adaptation can be incremental. Start by switching off smartphone alerts, or taking social media apps off your phone, then switching off the device for increasingly long periods.

Practise concentration by finding things to do that specifically engage you for a period of time to the exclusion of everything else. What is noticeable is that you cannot just go from a state of distraction to one of concentration, in the same way that most of us cannot fall asleep the minute our head hits the pillow. It takes a bit of time and, with practice, becomes easier to accomplish.

The ‘five more’ rule
This is a simple way of learning to concentrate better. It goes like this: whenever you feel like quitting – just do five more – five more minutes, five more exercises, five more pages – which will extend your focus. The rule pushes you just beyond the point of frustration and helps build mental concentration. It’s a form of training as well as being a way of getting something accomplished.

Sitting still would seem an easy thing to achieve. But it is harder than it sounds. It is akin to meditation, which can be a useful way to improve concentration. In this case, however, just get in to a comfortable, supported position and sit still and do nothing for five minutes. Use it as a pause between activities. Of course, if you already practise meditation, combine this with breathing for a quick “time out”.

Meditation and focus
Switching off from both external and internal distractions does not come easily. Learning how to be more mindful, practising mindfulness or meditation, can all help facilitate greater concentration, not least because feeling calmer restores equilibrium and focus.

Most of us breathe poorly: we tend to over-breathe, taking three or four breaths using only the upper part of our lung capacity, when one good breath using the lungs more completely would serve us better. This shallow breathing is very tiring, not only because we expend unnecessary muscular energy, but because we reduce our oxygen intake per breath.

In its extreme form, over-breathing becomes hyperventilation, which can trigger panic attacks. In all mindfulness or meditation practice, breathing is key. So it’s wise to learn good techniques first. A daily practice, starting with 10 minutes and building on it, means that the ability to take some restorative “time out” will also be available to you:

  • Lie comfortably on the floor, knees bent, chin tucked in – what Alexander Technique teachers call the “constructive rest position” – or sit upright in a chair, legs uncrossed, feet flat on the floor.
  • Consciously relax your neck and drop your shoulders, rest your arms by your sides with your palms turned upwards.
  • Breathe long and gently through your nose, into your belly until you see it gently rise, for a slow count of five.
  • Pause, and hold that breath for a count of five, then gently exhale through your mouth for another count of five.
  • While doing this, try to clear your mind of all other thoughts, or if this is difficult close your eyes and visualise a pebble dropping into a pool of water and gently sinking down.
  • Repeat this breathing cycle 10 times; then see how your regular breathing adjusts.
  • You can also use this breathing technique at any time you feel tense or stressed, or as the basis of any meditation.

We all need to take time out, so set a timer to signal a break, or use an app such as Or you can just play a favourite music track, knowing that it will give you a set amount of time in which to press pause and do nothing.

Another effective technique for boosting concentration is counting backwards. Counting backwards in sevens from 1,000 might sound like an exercise in exasperation, but it does require you to concentrate very hard: try it. It requires persistence and the use of different skills, which for some may include visualising the numbers as you count. Whatever it takes, keep at it for long enough to completely focus and you’ll also have the added bonus of finding that you have, temporarily, cleared your head of everything else for a few minutes.

Similarly, spelling words backwards is a good way to focus: start with words that are easy: dog, box, cup, and then build up to longer words – including nouns and more abstract words – such as cushion, blonde, effort, number – increasing the length and complexity of the word. Again, this is an exercise that can be built on.

Another way to focus is to sit in a comfortable position and find a spot on the wall to stare at. This works best when you have no conscious association with it to distract you – so, a black spot about two inches in diameter at eye level works well. Focus all your attention on this for around three minutes to start with (you can set a timer if this helps) and let any thoughts that arise drift away, constantly returning your focus to the spot.

Anyone familiar with meditation will recognise this technique. If it helps to notice your breath, slow and steady this too, but always make your visual focus on the spot the priority. Practiced regularly, this can become so familiar it creates a resource on which to draw, enabling you to consciously refocus at will, even without the visual prompt.

Watching the clock
An old-fashioned clock face with hands and a second hand is needed for this. Starting with the second hand at the 12, focus intently on its progress around the clock face without allowing any distracting thoughts to intervene. Every time your concentration is interrupted by a stray thought, wait until the second hand is at the 12 again, and start again. It’s harder than it sounds and can feel very frustrating initially, but once the ability is learnt it’s easy to access again and again, whenever you need to create a more concentrated state of mind.

We access so much information through what we see, but often we are not particularly observant about what we are looking at, leaving us with just an impression or feeling about what we’ve seen. In an effort to improve concentration skills, it’s worth considering how looking at and then visualising something, can reinforce concentration. Start by paying more attention, whether this is looking at a picture in an art gallery, or taking a bus ride, or just enjoying the scenery from a window. You don’t have to commit an exact graphic image to memory, but engage with it, notice details, reflect on it and, within a short time, you will be able to close your eyes and visualise it. There is no right or wrong way to do this, it’s just an opportunity to practise focus and improve concentration.

There’s a huge difference between hearing and listening. Learning to listen well starts quite self-consciously but will also become a useful habit. You can use music to practise this, the length of a track giving you between three to five minutes (or longer) on which to focus. Really listen to the nuances of the music, its notes, cadences, instruments used, lyrics. Music is often just a background noise but real, complicated musical notation can be more than just pleasurable, it can be a real boon to helping relearn concentration skills.

Physical exercise
For any extended period of exercise – whether it be yoga, playing a team sport or dancing – the engagement of the brain with the body is also an exercise in concentration. Regular exercise also activates the body and this is beneficial for the brain.

A Dutch study of schoolchildren published in the Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport in 2016 showed that interspersing lessons with a 20-minute stretch of aerobic exercise measurably improved attention spans in the children that participated. Another 2014 study from the American Academy of Paediatrics, on the benefits of exercise in 7 to 9-year-olds, not only found that the children’s physical health improved as they got fitter, but also their brain function, cognitive performance and executive control.

Poor sleep and being chronically under-slept affects concentration, while also reinforcing those stress hormones to compensate, making it a bit of a vicious circle. Improving sleep cannot happen overnight, particularly if it is a chronic problem, but taking measures to improve this will yield results over a period of weeks, rather than days.

One place to start is clearing your bedroom of TVs, computers and other technology. Although any type of light can inhibit sleep, research has shown that light towards the blue end of the spectrum is especially effective at keeping you awake because it stimulates the retina in the eye and inhibits the secretion of melatonin from the pineal gland in the brain.

Computer screens, tablets, smartphones, flat-screen TVs and LED lighting all emit large amounts of blue light, and it is important to avoid these before trying to sleep. Around 80% of people routinely use these devices running up to bedtime, and among 18 to 24-year-olds this figure increases to 91%, according to research carried out by Prof Richard Wiseman.

Amber-tinted glasses can cut out glare, and it is also possible to fit screens with commercially produced blue-light blocking filters. Another solution, of course, is to avoid all electronic devices before bed in order to help avoid insomnia and improve sleep.

Reading for pleasure
One thing that many people who feel they have lost the ability to concentrate mention is that reading a book for pleasure no longer works for them. We have got so used to skim reading for fast access to information that the demand of a more sophisticated vocabulary, a complex plot structure or a novel’s length can be difficult to engage with. Like anything, single-minded attention may need relearning in order to enjoy reading for pleasure again, but close reading in itself can be a route to better concentration. To help that, read from an actual book, not a screen: screens are too reminiscent of skim reading and just turning pages will slow your pace. Read for long enough to engage your interest, at least 30 minutes: engagement in content takes time, but will help you read for longer.

Digital apps
Somewhat ironically, digital apps may have their place in monitoring, managing or restricting digital time, but bear in mind that they still keep you connected to digital devices. Better perhaps to wean yourself away from excessive digital use by doing something alternative: read a book, go to a movie (where turning off phones is required), take a walk, eat a meal without checking … basically restore some sort of self-discipline through the benefit of alternate activities.

Source: The Guardian

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Ketegasan Umar Abdul Aziz Terhadap Arak

Ketegasan Umar Abdul Aziz Terhadap Arak
1. Khalifah Umar Abdul Aziz adalah di antara contoh terbaik dalam menangani isu arak di zaman beliau. Menurut al-Qurtubi, Umar Abdul Aziz dikatakan pernah menghukum Muslim yang duduk bersama peminum arak. Apabila ditanya mengapa kamu menghukum Muslim ini sedangkan dia berpuasa? Umar menjawab: Kamu adalah sebahagian dari mereka! (Tafsir al-Qurtubi, 5/418; Said Hawa, al-Asas fi al-Tafsir, 2/1215)

Umar mendidik kita supaya tidak redha dengan kemungkaran, bahkan tidak bersama dengan mereka yang menganjurkan kemungkaran.

2. al-Imam Ibn Atiyyah menggunakan tindakan ini sebagai hujah bahawa seorang Muslim seharusnya menjauhi majlis arak sedaya-upaya. (al-Muharrar al-Wajiz: 2/125)

Sekiranya seorang Muslim berkuasa menghentikannya, mengapa tidak kita bantu manusia lain daripada terjerumus kepada arak?

3. Bagi Muslim yang terlibat dengan arak, Umar Abdul Aziz akan mengenakan hukuman sebat sama seperti yang dilakukan oleh khalifah terdahulu. Al-Imam al-Bayhaqi meriwayatkan bagaimana seorang lelaki yang mabuk arak menceraikan isterinya. Lelaki ini dibawa kepada Umar Abdul Aziz, lalu dikenakan hukuman sebat. (al-Bayhaqi, Sunan al-Kubra, 7/589)

4. Bagi non Muslim pula, Umar Abdul Aziz mengarahkan supaya mereka tidak menzahirkan aktiviti arak mereka. al-Imam al-Bayhaqi ketika menghuraikan tentang syarat-syarat ahli zimmah (non Muslim) yang tinggal bersama Muslim, beliau menyebutkan:

كَتَبَ عُمَرُ بْنُ عَبْدِ الْعَزِيزِ: أَلَّا يُظْهِرُوا الْخَمْرَ

“Umar Abdul Aziz pernah menulis surat supaya majlis arak (bagi non Muslim) seharusnya tidak dizahirkan” (tidak diheboh, didedah dan berlaku secara tertutup). (al-Bayhaqi, Ma’rifa al-Sunan wa al-Athar, 13/383).

5. Bahkan, Umar Abdul Aziz dilihat cuba menyekat kemasukan dan kebebasan aktiviti import/eksport penjualan arak. Perkara ini direkodkan oleh Ibn Zanjaweh di dalam kitab al-Amwal:

كَتَبَ عُمَرُ بْنُ عَبْدِ الْعَزِيزِ إِلَى عَبْدِ الْحَمِيدِ بْنِ عَبْدِ الرَّحْمَنِ وَهُوَ عَامِلُهُ عَلَى الْكُوفَةِ: أَنْ «لَا تُحْمَلَ الْخَمْرُ مِنْ رُسْتَاقٍ إِلَى رُسْتَاقٍ…
الأموال لابن زنجويه 1:282

“Umar Abdul Aziz menulis surat kepada Abdul Hamid ibn Abdul Rahman iaitu Gabenor beliau di Kufah: (kata Umar) Jangan dibawa arak dari satu bandar atau wilayah (rustaq) kepada bandar atau wilayah yang lain.” (Ibn Zanjaweih, al-Amwal, 1/282).

6. al-Imam Ibn Abi Syaibah merekodkan gambaran yang hampir sama. Umar Abdul Aziz diriwayatkan sangat bertegas dalam menguruskan arak (punca kepada kerosakan manusia). Beliau melarang aktiviti import eksport arak, dari satu kampung ke satu kampung yang lain. Kata Ibn Abi Syaibah:

عَنْ مُثَنَّى بْنِ سَعِيدٍ، قَالَ: شَهِدْتُ عُمَرَ بْنَ عَبْدِ الْعَزِيزِ كَتَبَ إِلَى عَامِلِهِ بِوَاسِطٍ: «أَنْ لَا تَحْمِلُوا الْخَمْرَ مِنْ قَرْيَةٍ إِلَى قَرْيَةٍ…

“Muthanna ibn Sa’d berkata: Aku menyaksikan Umar Abdul Aziz menulis kepada Gabenornya bahawa: Jangan dibawa arak dari satu kampung ke satu kampung yang ian.” (Ibn Abi Syaibah, al-Musannaf, 5:100)

7. Menurut al-Imam Malik pula, Umar Abdul Aziz dikatakan pernah mengarahkan supaya tempat-tempat perahan arak milik Muslim seharusnya dihapuskan. Kata al-Imam Malik:

قال مالك: أفبلغك أن عمر بن عبد العزيز كتب في كسر معاصير الخمر؟ قال: نعم. قيل: معاصير المسلمين وأهل الذمة. قال: لا أرى ذلك إلا في التي للمسلمين.

“Kata Malik: Apakah tidak sampai kepada kamu bahawa Umar Abdul Aziz pernah menulis (arahan) supaya dipecahkan (dirobohkan) tempat-tempat memerah arak? Dia (perawi) berkata: Ya! (lalu beliau ditanya): Tempat perahan milik Muslim atau milik non Muslim? Malik menjawab: Milik Muslim sahaja.

8. Lihatlah betapa tegasnya Umar Abdul Aziz dalam berurusan dengan perkara yang melibatkan arak. Muslim langsung tidak dibenarkan terlibat dengan urusan arak. Non Muslim tidak dibenarkan untuk menzahirkan aktiviti arak mereka. Aktiviti ekonomi yang melibatkan arak diperketatkan. Kilang penghasil arak pula dipantau.

Moga Allah membantu Muslim dalam menangani isu arak.

Dr. Ahmad Sanusi Azmi
Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies

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Varcoe: LNG Canada fuels expectations for at least one more project

Fresh off a decision by Royal Dutch Shell and its partners to construct the country’s first liquefied natural gas development, the energy industry is growing confident it will propel other Canadian LNG proposals to move ahead.

LNG Canada CEO Andy Calitz, front left, believes a positive final investment decision has given “a degree of comfort and encouragement” to similar LNG proposals.

The chief executive of LNG Canada believes the positive final investment decision has given “a degree of comfort and encouragement” to similar proposals trying to make it across the finish line.

“There are a number of other projects in (the) advanced development stage and they will feel emboldened by what we have done,” Andy Calitz said Wednesday before speaking at the Energy Roundtable conference in Calgary.

“Based on the understanding of the state of development of at least three other projects in B.C., I will not be surprised if there is one more FID.”

Last week’s announcement that Shell, PETRONAS, PetroChina, Mitsubishi Corp. and Korea Gas Corp. will build the project at Kitimat, B.C., was a game-changing moment for the country’s energy industry.

The $40-billion project is not only the largest private-sector investment in the country’s history, it represents something else for the oilpatch: confidence.

After seeing big-ticket projects like Northern Gateway, Energy East, the Pacific NorthWest LNG and Aurora LNG projects flail and finally fail, five international companies have committed to investing billions of dollars in this country.

“It’s brought real credibility back into the Canadian energy sector,” said Pieridae Energy CEO Alfred Sorensen, who is working on the $10-billion Goldboro LNG project in Nova Scotia.

“It’s almost like … internationally, people have said, ‘OK, it looks like LNG from Canada is do-able, if it’s done the right way,'” added Victor Ojeda, president of Steelhead LNG, which wants to build a facility on the west coast of Vancouver Island.

For those who want to see the country export its energy resources beyond the United States, the LNG Canada decision is a seminal moment. By the middle of next decade, supercooled natural gas from Western Canada will be shipped into thirsty Asian markets, including China, Korea and Japan.

According to a National Energy Board report, the regulator has received 43 LNG export licence applications since 2010, representing 24 projects — including 18 on the Pacific coast.

Most proposals stalled out after global LNG prices fell several years ago. With demand for natural gas growing to replace coal, a new wave of projects is expected to be built by the middle of the next decade.

A report by energy consultancy IHS Markit said the decision by Shell and its partners to build could act “as a starting gun” for other LNG projects to proceed.

“We will see a renewal in liquefaction projects being approved globally. Whether or not Canada gets those projects is still a bit of an open question,” said Ian Archer, associate director of North American natural gas for IHS.

Each proposal on the drawing board will face its own set of challenges.

At the energy conference, Calitz spoke about the “long and winding road” it took to attain approval for the megaproject, including a two-year delay that allowed the proponents to whittle down costs.

Unlike other developments, he noted LNG Canada is located exclusively within British Columbia, the proponents have a good long-term relationship with affected First Nations and local communities, the project is cost-competitive and it will use hydro electricity to lower its greenhouse gas emissions.

“Energy projects have so many hurdles to cross,” he said. “We got it in the golden spot of taking an FID.”

Energy producers and other LNG proponents are hoping the decision will put wind in their sails.

“It’s good for Canada, good for investor confidence. It resonates very strongly across the corporation,” said Frank Cassulo, president of Chevron Canada, which has its own Kitimat LNG Project, a joint venture with Australia’s Woodside Petroleum.

While there are 18 proposed LNG projects on the books for the west coast, only three are “going concerns” — Steelhead LNG, Woodfibre LNG and Chevron’s Kitimat project — according to a B.C. government official.

Archer believes the Woodfibre LNG project is the most advanced and likely to proceed, with its plans to construct a smaller processing and export facility southwest of Squamish, B.C.

Woodfibre officials are working on an engineering, procurement and construction contract with Houston-based KBR Inc., and expect construction to start sometime in 2019.

Other proponents hope the LNG Canada will give the Canadian energy sector some momentum and make believers out of the naysayers.

“It takes a long time to get the first project out of the gate in any new jurisdiction,” said Ojeda.

“It is really a survival-of-the-fittest sort of process.”

On the east coast, Pieridae is moving toward the finish line on giving a green light to the Goldboro project, which would ship natural gas from Alberta to Nova Scotia for eventual export into Europe.

The company is waiting for the provincial government to issue construction permits within the next two weeks. A final investment decision is expected to take place in late November.

While the court decision that quashed the federal approval of the Trans Mountain oil pipeline expansion in August sent out a negative signal about building energy projects in the country, the new LNG decision “was the exact opposite,” Sorensen said.

“It really brings confidence back to investors,” he told reporters after the conference.

“For big investors who may have had a negative view of investing in Canada, I think a lot of that has eased off.”

Source: Vancouver Sun
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Sarawak, Sabah taking similar approach in getting back MA63 rights

KUCHING: Sarawak and Sabah are on the same page on how to approach the amendments to the Federal Constitution and the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63).

This assurance came from the chief minister of both states – Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg (Sarawak) and Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal (Sabah).

Abang Johari (left) and Minister of Tourism, Arts, Culture, Youth and Sports Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah (right) accompanying Shafiee leaving his office at the new DUN Complex.

Abang Johari said the amendments to the Federal Constitution and MA63 were some of the issues discussed during his meeting with Shafie at his office in the new DUN Complex here yesterday.

“We talked about it, but we did not discuss it in detail,” he told a press conference after the courtesy call by his counterpart from Sabah.

Shafie, who sat beside Abang Johari at the same press conference, even gave a greater assurance that: “I can be sure we are on the same page because the signing of the agreement was done within the book – which involved Sarawak, Sabah and Peninsular Malaysia.

“We realise that. We have to be together to ensure that the works are done accordingly. We are not going to sing different songs,” he said.

He noted that the amendments and return of Sarawak’s and Sabah’s rights under the MA63 were for the benefit of Sarawakians and Sabahans.

He believed it was high time that the federal government looked into the demands from Sabah and Sarawak seriously.

He said when the people of Sarawak and Sabah make the demand it doesn’t mean they don’t love Malaysia.

“We love Malaysia. But what is due, what has been there, put there by our forefathers, we got to realise that.

“To realise that, we have to fulfil what have been there,” he said.

Shafie believes that if there is adjustment to be made, they need to discuss it because when our forefathers formed Malaysia it was done in a peaceful manner, through negotiation and through discussion, not like other nations where all sorts of things happened.

He also stressed that the demand for 20 per cent royalty was not only for Sarawak but also for Sabah, which is also an oil and gas producing state.

“I have raised the oil royalty issue; it’s not based on net but on gross.

“I realise in the beginning due to high cost of operation may not be enough to PETRONAS, but since 1974 there must be some adjustment.

“We are not asking for 100 per cent. We are asking for 20 per cent only,” he said.

Shafie believed Sarawak and Sabah did not mind to share the wealth from oil and gas with the country, saying they were asking for was what was due to them.

Source: The Borneo Post Online
Posted on

To be credible O&G player, PETROS must lay out plan

It has been over one-and-a-half years since the announcement to set up Petroleum Sarawak Berhad (PETROS) was made and till today, no specifics have been released by the Sarawak government nor by its Chief Minister Abang Johari Tun Openg.

Further, as days go by, more and more looming questions emerge such as what would be the initial paid-up and working capital the Sarawak state government will inject to get PETROS operational and who will constitute the senior management.

This besides the grand announcement of Saau Kakok, a former special projects vice-president of US-based independent oil company Hess Corporation being appointed as the chief executive officer (CEO) of PETROS.

To recap, Abang Johari, when announcing the setting up of (PETROS) back in 2017, said, “PETROS is expected to be in operation within six months because we must get our side ready for us to get involved in the upstream oil and gas (O&G) activities”.

He was also quoted as saying that PETROS needs expertise and thus the state government’s approach must be correct, saying, “The one I’m talking about is our own state-owned company which will work together with PETRONAS.”

Following that, the news of the appointment of Saau Kakok was announced despite very strong interest from numerous applicants for the post.

The chief minister was quoted as saying that Saau, a Bidayuh, had spent almost 40 years in the oil and gas industry and his experience, professionalism and network within the oil and gas fraternity made him an ideal choice to lead a competent and high-integrity PETROS operational team.

It is then perplexing that PETROS has chosen to maintain an elegant silence on calls to be transparent on its negotiations with PETRONAS or any other party to “reclaim” the state’s right to regulate and develop its O&G resources from PETRONAS.

Neither Saau nor his team has weighed in with an experienced and professional opinion on increased oil royalties for the state or even attempted to offer a commercially-viable method of calculating it for the benefit of Sarawak and the nation’s oil and gas industry.

PETRONAS’ track record since it was incorporated may have given ordinary people and even state politicians a mistaken perception that the O&G business is easy and provides very good returns. Nothing can be further from the truth, of course.

If the GPS government and its politicians think that this is so, they need to be educated by PETROS and its very experienced board members including Hamid Bugo the chairperson, who is also a director with Sapura Energy, Medan Abdullah who is ex-PETRONAS and Sharbini Suhaili who is Sarawak Energy CEO and also ex-PETRONAS.

The business is cyclical, highly capital-intensive and high-risk. Sarawak should already have an inkling of that from the participation of the state-owned Sarawak Economic Development Corporation (SEDC) in a venture called Blackgold in the 1980s under the administration of the Taib Mahmud government.

The venture never took off but the corporation and ultimately the state lost tens of millions of ringgit of the Sarawak people’s money perhaps even more.

Urgently now, the burning question for Sarawak is whether setting up PETROS is any less of a business risk or perhaps a much bigger one.

And if the state wants to now start from scratch, how steep a learning curve will it be for it and the executives hired by PETROS before any real profit comes to Sarawak’s coffers and the people?

Or will it be another Hollywood production where cronies and opportunistic foreign companies with vested interests embark on an oil field grab and virtually nothing goes back to the people of Sarawak?

PETROS has been entrusted with a heavy responsibility by the current state government.

The previous Adenan Satem administration was against such a move. It is now incumbent upon PETROS and its experienced and professional management team and board to lay out its plans on why and how it would be the right solution to meet Sarawak’s oil and gas and socio-economic aspirations.

Source: malaysiakini
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PETRONAS expected to produce oil from D28 offshore Bintulu field next month

KUCHING: Petroliam Nasional Bhd (PETRONAS) is expected to produce oil next month from the D28 offshore oil field, which is about 85 km north-west of Bintulu.

The wellhead platform, the final component of the D28 phase one oil drilling project, is ready for installation at the oil field in a few days’ time.

Sarawak Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Dr James Masing launched the sail away of the D28 topside, which was constructed by OceanMight Sdn Bhd, a subsidiary of KKB Engineering Bhd, at the company load-out jetty, in Jalan Bako yesterday.

OceanMight had earlier completed the D28 jacket which was installed at the oil field in August 2018.

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The D28 phase one is a greenfield project located in the Balingian oil and gas fields and has a water depth of some 35m. D28 has 5.44 million stock tank barrels (mmstb) of recoverable oil reserves.

PETRONAS vice-president (project delivery and technology) Zakaria Kasah said D28 was expected to produce 5,000 gallons of oil a day.

“D28 is a super fast track project that is delivered in nine months by OceanMight against the required usual duration of 15 months,” he said, commending OceanMight for a job well done.

Yesterday, OceanMight celebrated a major safety milestone after recording 280,000 man hours work without lost time injury.

PETRONAS Carigali Sdn Bhd awarded the D28 contract for the engineering, procurement, construction and commissioning (EPCC) to OceanMight in March this year.

OceanMight secured a second project – EPCC of wellhead platform for D18 phase two project – from PETRONAS Carigali in August.

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The D18 phase two project aims to develop 12.5 mmstb of oil reserves, also located in the Balingian oil fields.

“D18 is also a super fast track project required to be completed in 15 months (second half 2019),” said Zakaria.

He said the award of D28 and D18 contracts to OceanMight was testament of PETRONAS’ commitment to nurture and grow the business of Sarawak’s oil and gas companies, and that the national oil company would continue to groom local talents .

OceanMight chief executive officer Datuk Kho Kak Beng, who is also KKB chairman and group managing director, said the company had secured RM300mil worth of fabrication contracts for offshore structures this year, on top of RM250mil worth of four contracts which it had delivered on time to its clients between 2014 and 2017.

Source: The STAR Online

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