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Overview of Brunei Darussalam’s Oil and Gas Industry

Brunei’s economy has been dominated by the oil and gas upstream and downstream industries for the past 90 years. From the first well discovery in Ayer Berkunchi in 1899 to the establishment of Petroleum Authority of Brunei Darussalam in 2019 – Brunei Darussalam’s oil and gas industry has long fueled the growth and development of the country.

The history of the oil industry in Brunei began in 1899 when the first exploration well was drilled near the capital, Brunei Town. It was then followed by the discovery of the Seria field in the Belait District in 1929 and a series of commercial discoveries that culminated in Brunei’s first oil export in 1932. Brunei Shell Petroleum (BSP) is the largest oil producer in Brunei and contributes around 90 per cent to Brunei’s oil and gas revenues.

Over the last decade, Brunei Darussalam has made substantial investments in the expansion of its downstream industries to diversify its product portfolio in the oil and gas value-chain. This trend is set to continue in the future, paving the way for growing demand for new skills and technology.

Brunei has set out a long-term vision for the country and eight strategic objectives have been set by the Ministry of Energy under their Strategic Plan 2020 – 2025 focusing on the growth and development of the country’s energy sector.

Brunei Darussalam continues to maximise the potential of its mature oil and gas fields, and undertake further exploration and development activities, as well as ensuring locals are highly educated and technically skilled to meet the industry needs. To sustain the country’s long term production, collaborative efforts between the Government and oil and gas operators are key towards materializing potential activities.

The oil and gas industry is the main contributor to the Country’s growth with 48% share of the country’s GDP in 2020.

Petroleum Authority of Brunei Darussalam is the regulatory body for the oil and gas industry in Brunei. Its long-term vision for the industry revolves around establishing a progressive and resilient industry that is perceptive to the ever-changing market, capable of enhancing the value created to secure the future of the country.

To attain this vision, the key strategic objectives set by the Ministry of Energy to propel forward are:

Ministry of Energy Strategic Objectives

Strategic Objective 1

Diversification of Energy Sector To Increase Resilience From Global Oil Market Uncertainty

Strategic Objective 2

Effective and Sustainable Hydrocarbon Resource Management.

Strategic Objective 7

Robust and Conducive Regulatory Framework and Safety Standards for the Oil, Gas, Power and Other Energy Sectors.

Milestones

1899

  • First exploration well, Ayer Berkunchi, drilled

1912 – 1914

  • Belait wells drilled (BL-1, BL-2, BL-3, BL-4)
  • BL-2 the first discovery well (non-commercial)

1921

  • Electricity supply established to first customer

1929

  • First commercial oil discovery, Seria field (Padang Berawa)

1932

  • Export of oil to neigbouring states

1935

  • First diesel-powered generator built

1953

  • First diesel-powered generator start operation

1954

  • First marine 2D Seismis Acquisition

1955

  • Seria gas plant commissioned

1956

  • First offshore Exploration well, Ampa-1

1957

  • Peak production of onshore fields

1959

  • Gadong diesel engine power station commissioned
  • Shell Marketing Company of Borneo Limited established (the forerunner of Brunei Shell Marketing Company Sdn Bhd)

1963

  • First onshore and offshore petroleum agreements signed
  • First offshore field discovery, South West Ampa

1966

  • Temburong diesel engine power station commissioned

1967

  • Brunei LNG Sdn Bhd established

1969

  • Second offshore field discovery, Fairley

1970

  • Champion field discovery

1972

  • First LNG Cargo to Japan
  • Seria Crude Oil terminal established
  • First Deepwater well, 21-1x

1975

  • Magpie field discovery

1976

  • First gas-fired power station installed in Gadong

1979

  • Onshore field discovery, Rasau

1982

  • Petroleum Unit of the Prime Minister’s Office established

1983

  • The Brunei Shell Refinery established

1986

  • Brunei Shell Tankers Sdn Bhd established

1987

  • Lumut Co-Generation Power Station commissioned

1988

  • Gannet Field discovery

1989

  • Maharaja Lela Field discovery

1991

  • Seria oil field Billionth barrel production

1992

  • IronDuke Field discovery
  • First Deepwater Field discovery, Merpati

1994

  • LNG export to Republic of Korea begins

1998

  • Brunei Gas Carriers Sdn Bhd established

1999

  • First gas supply from the Block B Joint Venture (BBJV)

2002

  • Brunei National Petroleum Company (PetroleumBRUNEI) established

2003

  • First cargo of Brunei’s crude oil shipped to India

2004

  • First combined cycle power station constructed

2005

  • Installation of Brunei’s first SMART platform in Champion West
  • 500th LNG Cargo delivery to Japan

2006

  • Brunei Methanol Company established

2007

  • Bubut Field discovery

2008

  • 200 million of tonnes of LNG delivered

2010

  • First Solar plant, Tenaga Suria Brunei commissioned

2011

  • Deepwater Geronggong Field Commercial discovery

2012

  • Directives on Local Business Development (LBD) in Oil & Gas Industry issued
  • New electricity tariff introduced

2013

  • Deepwater Kelidang Cluster discovery

2014

  • Energy White Paper

2017

  • Layang-Layang onshore discovery
  • Safety, Health and Environment National (SHENA) established

2019

  • BSP 90th Anniversary
  • Petroleum Authority of Brunei Darussalam established

90 years of discovery of oil