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The Jakarta Post: Shell hopes Brunei, Malaysia, Indonesia resolve maritime disputes soon

The Jakarta Post: Shell hopes Brunei, Malaysia, Indonesia resolve maritime disputes soon

14 June 2005

KUALA LUMPUR (AFP): Royal Dutch/Shell said on Tuesday it hopes territorial disputes over oil-rich maritime areas involving three Southeast Asian countries will be resolved quickly to enable exploration to go ahead.

“Our resources are there. The earlier the better but we do not want to interfere,” Dominique Gardy, Singapore-based chief executive officer with Shell exploration and production said on the sidelines of the Asia Oil and Gas conference.

“If and when the solution is in place, then we can develop there sources,” he told AFP. “We are just on standby waiting for a government-to-government decision.”

Gardy said if the disputes between Malaysia, Brunei and Indonesia were resolved now, it would take “a couple of years” before oil could be pumped.

In 2003, Malaysia and Brunei become embroiled in a row over an area that represents about half of Brunei’s entire offshore territory and talks are continuing to resolve it.

Brunei, a tiny enclave surrounded by Malaysia’s eastern state of Sarawak on Borneo island, is the fourth-largest producer of natural gas in the world and third-largest oil producer in Southeast Asia after Indonesia and Malaysia.

Brunei in 2002 awarded one block to French oil company Total and another to the Royal Dutch/Shell group but since early 2003the deepwater blocks have also been claimed by Malaysia, whose state-owned oil firm Petronas awarded identical acreage to U.S.Murphy Oil and its own subsidiary, Petronas Carigali.

Early this year, Malaysia and Indonesia also became locked ina dispute in the Sulawesi Sea.

Tensions rose between the countries after Jakarta protested a move by Petronas to grant energy Shell a concession in the area in February.

Indonesia says the area is part of its territorial waters and some of the concession granted by Malaysia overlaps with one granted by the Indonesian government to Italy’s ENI and the U.S. company Unocal in the 1960s.

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