Thursday, January 31, 2013

PERTAMBAHAN ROYALTI MINYAK DAN KUALA LUMPUR MENGAUT SEMUANYA: LINGKARAN KEKELIRUAN


Acapkali kita mendengar dakwaan pembangkang berhubung dua isu utama yang agak emosi bagi rakyat Sabah iaitu janji menaikkan kadar royalti minyak kepada 15% untuk Sabah dan dakwaan Kerajaan Persekutuan merampas semua kekayaan Sabah tanpa memberi apa-apa sebagai balasan.

Isu-isu ini mesti dijawab berdasarkan fakta dan tepat pada masanya bagi mengelak mana-mana pihak dipedaya mulut manis pembangkang.

Kita mulakan dengan isu kenaikan royalti minyak sebanyak 15% kepada Sabah. Di atas kertas, bunyinya memang menarik tetapi hakikatnya, wujud pelbagai kebimbangan bagi menjadikan impian itu satu kenyataan. Berjanji memang mudah tetapi menzahirkannya adalah cerita berbeza.

SEKILAS PANDANG

Urusan berkaitan petroleum bukan perkara remeh. Kerangka menyeluruhnya, cabaran teknikal dan risiko kewangan yang besar dengan sendirinya menyaksikan hanya syarikat besar memiliki kepakaran serta sumber kewangan kukuh berani mengendalikannya.

Bayangkan kerja-kerja perlu dilakukan untuk menurunkan paip menggerudi sedalam 4.5 km dari paras laut dalam persekitaran mukabumi yang penuh tekanan untuk menggali minyak. Ia memerlukan peralatan khusus dan amat mahal yang cuma dimiliki penggerak utama industri minyak dunia (seperti Shell, Murphy Oil, ExxonMobil dll). Kos cari gali minyak boleh memakan belanja besar mencecah berjuta dolar dan pastinya dibazir begitu saja jika tiada minyak ditemui di kawasan yang dikenal pasti.

Syarikat petroleum negara, Petronas, tidak memiliki kemampuan menanggung risiko kewangan berkenaan seperti mana rakannya di negara membangun lain seperti Indonesia, Venezuela dan Nigeria.

Selain itu, Petronas juga tidak mempunyai kekuatan kewangan untuk membelanjakan berbilion ringgit melakukan penyelidikan dan pembangunan (R&D) atau menanggung risko kewangan dalam fasa cari gali dan pengeluaran, terutama apabila peruntukan besar seperti itu diperlukan bagi pembangunan negara.

Berbeza dengan Petronas yang banyak beroperasi di perairan Malaysia, penggerak utama petroleum dunia memiliki kelebihan dari segi sumber kewangan. Mereka beroperasi di seluruh dunia dan langkah itu dengan sendirinya mengurangkan kos fasa R&D, usaha cari gali dan pengeluaran.

Jika minyak ditemui, modal diperlukan bagi setiap fasa pasti lebih besar. Difahamkan, fasa pengeluaran minyak boleh menelan belanja setinggi RM2 bilion dan ada kalanya lebih besar daripada itu.

Bagi mengurangkan beban risiko kewangan akibat ketidaktentuan penemuan minyak, Petronas menyertai perjanjian kerjasama (dikenali sebagai Kontrak Perkongsian Pengeluaran atau PSC, disusuli Kontrak Perkongsian Risiko atau RSC) dengan syarikat multinasional seperti Shell, Murphy Oil atau ExxonMobil dan lain-lain.

Syarikat minyak gergasi ini diberi peratusan keuntungan diperoleh sebagai balasan menanggung risiko kewangan dan berkongsi teknologi R&D bernilai berbilion ringgit.

PETRONAS MENGAUT SEMUANYA?

Pembangkang kerap membuat tanggapan kononnya Petronas tidak adil dalam mengagih keuntungan kepada Sabah. Justeru, mengikut percaturan mereka, Petronas sepatutnya memberi tambahan 15 peratus royalti keuntungan minyak kepada Sabah.

Bolehkah ia dilakukan? Mari kita lihat kenyataannya.

Contoh berikut mungkin tidak merangkumi setiap perincian kerjasama (JV) yang disertai Petronas, namun ia memadai untuk memberi gambaran adil terhadap hakikat sebenar.

Ilustrasi di bawah menjelaskan keuntungan Petronas hasil perolehan minyak Sabah.

(grafik)





Bagi setiap RM100 keuntungan diperoleh daripada hasil minyak Sabah, sejumlah 5% disalurkan sebagai simpanan Kerajaan Negeri manakala 5% lagi kepada simpanan Kerajaan Pusat. Sejumlah 45% digunakan bagi menampung kos pemulihan manakala 45% lagi diagih sebagai untung kasar bersama.

Kesimpulannya, selepas berkongsi pendapatan dengan pihak lain dan membayar cukai, adalah jelas keuntungan Petronas hanyalah sekitar 16.74%. Jika Petronas diminta membayar tambahan 15% daripada margin keuntungannya, ia tidak mampu menampung perbelanjaan, komitmen kewangan dan melakukan pelaburan semula sebagai pendapatan akan datang.

Akibatnya, Petronas akan menanggung beban kewangan yang mungkin membawa kepada muflis!

Jika Petronas gagal membayar tanpa menjejaskan kedudukannya, dari mana pula datangnya tambahan 15% itu? Jelas, pilihan yang ada cuma dua iaitu rakan kongsi PSC atau Kerajaan Pusat.

Besar kemungkinan, rakan kongsi PSC tidak akan melanggar perjanjian dipersetujui dengan Petronas seperti termaktub dalam kontrak. Tambahan pula, peratusan keuntungan yang rendah akan menjadikan kerja cari gali minyak di Malaysia kurang menarik.

Jika rakan kongsi JV menolak tawaran kerja di Malaysia, kita tidak mungkin dapat mengeluarkan minyak menerusi kaedah ekonomikal. Jika itu berlaku, ia mungkin menyebabkan Malaysia berdepan masalah keselamatan tenaga yang serius. Malah, jika tiada yang mencari gali minyak, kita mungkin terpaksa mengimport semua keperluan tenaga!

Dengan keadaan Petronas dan rakan JV tidak dapat menampung tambahan royalti 15% (kira-kira RM12.5 bilion) bagi negeri pengeluar minyak iaitu Sabah, Sarawak dan Terengganu, pilihan yang ada ialah mengambil daripada Kerajaan Pusat yang menerima dividen tahunan kira-kira RM30 bilion daripada Petronas.

Bagaimanapun, pilihan ini mempunyai kesan tersendiri.

Berikutan penyusutan dividen daripada Petronas, sumber kewangan Kerajaan Pusat turut berkurangan bagi peruntukan Bajet. Ini bermakna kerajaan terpaksa memotong perbelanjaan bagi kepentingan awam seperti subsidi, sekolah, hospital, balai polis, jalan dan kemudahan asas lain. Dalam hal ini, pihak paling teruk menerima kesannya ialah negeri bukan pengeluar minyak.

Sebagai Perdana Menteri, Anwar Ibrahim perlu memiliki kekuatan moral untuk memberitahu negeri bukan pengeluar minyak bahawa beliau terpaksa memotong peruntukan Kerajaan Pusat berjumlah RM12.5 billion.

Malangnya, ini tidak akan berlaku.

Pilihan terakhir bagi Anwar Ibrahim ialah meningkatkan royalti minyak Sabha kepada 15% tetapi dalam usaha memastikan beliau mempunyai dana mencukupi bagi seluruh negara, peruntukan Kerajaan Pusat bagi Sabah perlu dipotong. Harus diingat, pengurangan Kerajaan Pusat bagi Sabah adalah haknya sebagai Perdana Menteri.

Pilihan ini kelihatan munasabah walaupun Anwar tidak pernah memberi jaminan untuk tidak memotong peruntukan Kerajaan Pusat bagi Sabah. Ketika ini, peruntukan buat Sabah adalah antara yang tertinggi di Malaysia.

Sebenarnya, aneh juga bila difikirkan Anwar tidak pernah menyatakan secara terbuka dengan spesifik janjinya menaikkan royalti minyak sebanyak 15%. Mungkin beliau sedar penjelasan berkaitan isu itu mustahil dilakukan. Nampaknya, membiarkan rakyat Malaysia tertanya-tanya adalah cara lebih mudah. Malah, saya pernah bertanya kepada pembangkang termasuk Anwar Ibrahim sendiri di Parlimen mengenai perincian perkara ini. Saya mengharapkan jawapan tapi apa yang saya dapat hanyalah renungan tajam mereka!

KERAJAAN PUSAT KUTIP LEBIH DARIPADA PERBELANJAAN DIBERI KEPADA SABAH

Ini satu lagi dakwaan tidak bertanggungjawab pembangkang bagi meraih undi simpati di Sabah. Ia adalah pembohongan liar yang jika tidak dijawab dengan fakta, boleh mencetuskan perpecahan dan kebencian terhadap Kerajaan Barisan Nasional.

Isu ini perlu diperhalusi sebagai objektif dan kita lihat sama ada benar Kerajaan Pusat mengambil sumber Sabah (termasuk keuntungan hasil minyak) secara melampau tetapi hanya sedikit yang diberi.

Ilustrasi berikut memaparkan kutipan Kerajaan Pusat pada 2011 dan jumlah dibelanjakan di Sabha bagi tahun sama.

(grafik)





Di sebalik segala fitnah yang dilempar pembangkang, hakikatnya Kerajaan Pusat memberi peruntukan besar buat Sabah (RM4.736 bilion) berbanding yang dikutip dalam tahun sama.

Perangkaan Bahagian Analisa Cukai dan Bahagian Pengurusan Belanjawan, Kementerian Kewangan Malaysia itu menyaksikan aliran sama sejak 2007 beserta pecahan setiap kementerian.

Ia menunjukkan aliran perbelanjaan konsisten Kerajaan Persekutuan di Sabah berbanding pungutan setiap tahun. Ia adalah kebenaran dan kita semua tahu statistik tidak akan menipu.

Bagi 2012 dan tahun-tahun mendatang, tiada sebab bagi aliran itu berubah, terutama selepas Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak memberi penegasan bahawa penekanan khusus akan dilaksanakan terhadap pembangunan Sabah menerusi Program Transformasi Ekonomi (ETP).

Barisan Nasional Sabah mendapati Perdana Menteri YAB Dato Seri Najib Tun Razak tidak menghampakan rakyat Sabah.


*Tamat*


Thursday, January 03, 2013

An increase in oil royalty and KL Takes All: A Slue to Fallacy

Time and again, we have listened to the opposition's over the top vitriol on two very emotive issues to Sabahans; the promise of 15% increase in oil royalty to Sabah and the allegation of federal government taking away all Sabah resources and in return, giving almost nothing back to Sabah. These issues must be answered factually and timely to prevent anyone from being deceived into emotional shadow boxing by the opposition. 

Let's start with the 15% increase in oil royalty issue. While on the surface it sounds quite appealing, there are serious concerns over the mechanics needed to bring the notion to fruition. Making promises is one thing; executing them is another thing all together.

AN OVERVIEW 

The petroleum business is not a business arrangement for the Average Joe. The capital outlay, technical challenges and financial risks are so great and prohibitive that only the companies which have specialized expertise and bottomless bank accounts normally dare enough to go into it.

Imagine trying to lower drilling pipes, 4.5km from the sea level, in an intensely-pressurized environment to search for the elusive black gold. It requires special and extremely expensive equipment and expertise which only the world’s oil major players (the likes of Shell, Murphy Oil, ExxonMobil, etc) possess. The cost of exploration drilling could run into hundreds of millions of dollars which would go to absolute waste should no oil be found in vicinity of choice.  

The nation’s oil company, Petronas, like her counterparts in other  developing countries (Indonesia, Venezuela and Nigeria etc), does not have the capacity to absorb the financial risk mentioned above. 

It is not financially equipped to spend billions on research and development and take on the financial risks in the exploration and production phases when the same billions are very much needed to be spent on the country’s development. 

In addition, unlike Petronas - which primarily operates within Malaysia’s waters - the oil majors  enjoy economies of scale. They operate all over the world which helps to defray the costs of R&D, the exploration and production phases.

In the event that oil is actually discovered, the capital that needs to be spent in the subsequent phases is even more substantial. It is reportedly said that the cost of the oil production phase could reach as much as RM2 billion. Sometimes even more.

To cushion such uncertainties and spread the financial risk, Petronas enters into a joint-venture agreement (known in the industry as Production Sharing Contract or PSC and later, a variant called RSCs or Risk Sharing Contracts) with multinational oil companies like Shell, Murphy Oil or ExxonMobil and others.

These giant oil companies are given a percentage of the oil revenue generated in return of them bearing the financial risk and sharing technologies worth billions in Research & Development.

PETRONAS TAKES ALL?

The opposition always paint the perception that Petronas has been unfairly profiting from Sabah’s oil revenue, so according to them, it is only right for Petronas to give 15% extra oil royalty to Sabah.

Can it be done? Is it even doable? Let’s explore the realities.

While the following example will not be able to capture every essence of all the JV partnerships Petronas entered into, none the less, it is suffice to give a fair view of what the realities are on the ground.

The illustrations below explain how much Petronas makes from Sabah oil. 





For every RM100 revenue derived from Sabah oil, 5% goes to the state’s coffer while another 5% to the Federal coffer. Approximately 45% goes into recovery cost, and the remaining 45% goes to the joint venture’s gross profit.

In the end, it is clear that Petronas’ profit, after splitting revenue with others and after paying taxes, is only around 16.74%. If Petronas is asked to pay up the extra 15% from its profit margin, this will effectively render them unable to pay their overheads, financial commitments and re-investment for future income. The end result is financial blow which may lead to bankruptcy!

If Petronas is unable to pay without jeopardizing its very existence, where would the additional 15% come from then? Obviously there are two other choices left; the PSC partner or the federal government.

It is very unlikely for the PSC partner to give up what was already agreed in the contract between them and Petronas. Furthermore, lower profit percentage would make oil exploration in Malaysia unattractive to them. 

If the joint venture partners refuse jobs in Malaysia, we will not be able to extract our oil in an economically viable manner. This may lead to a serious energy security problem for Malaysia: with no one extracting oil, we may end up importing all of our energy requirement!

With Petronas and its joint venture partners unable to commit the extra 15% (or about RM12.5 billion) to the oil producing states of Sabah, Sarawak and Trengganu, the other option is of course to take it from the federal government which receives dividend around RM30 billion annually from Petronas.

This option is not without its own ramifications.

With reduced dividend from Petronas, the federal government will have less money for its budget. This means there will be less public spending on subsidies, schools, hospitals, police stations, roads and other infrastructures. Obviously, the most impacted would be the non-oil producing states. 

Anwar Ibrahim must have the moral courage to inform the non-oil producing states that as a Prime Minister, he will cut their federal allocated budget by RM12.5 billion. Unfortunately this is not happening. 

The last option available to Anwar Ibrahim is to increase Sabah’s oil royalty by 15% but in order to ensure he has enough funds available for the rest of the country, he will have to cut Sabah’s federal allocation. Remember, cutting Sabah’s federal allocation is within his prerogative as a Prime Minister. This option is plausible given the fact he has never given any assurances publically that he would not cut Sabah’s federal allocation which, at the moment, is one of the highest among all the states in Malaysia.

It is actually funny how Anwar hardly shares the specifics of his promise of 15% increase in oil royalty with the rest of the country. Perhaps he knows very well that he won't be able to provide explanation for them. Apparently, keeping Malaysians in the dark makes the illusion easier to perform. In fact, I remember asking opposition members, including Anwar Ibrahim himself, in Parliament of the specifics but instead of an answer, I got a blank response followed by sharp stares!


FEDERAL GOVERNMENT COLLECTS MORE THAN IT SPENDS IN SABAH

This is yet another irresponsible claim by the opposition to gain sympathy votes in Sabah. It is a very powerful lie which if not countered factually, could result in deep division and hatred towards the Barisan Nasional federal government.

Let's address this issue objectively and see if it is true that the federal government has been taking so much of Sabah's resources (including oil money) but giving back so little in return.

The following two illustrations show what federal government collected in Sabah in 2011 and how much it had spent in Sabah in the same year. 







Contrary to lies spawned by the opposition, the federal government actually spent more (by a whopping RM4.736 billion) in Sabah in 2011 compared to what it collected in the same year!

The statistics, which were made available to me by Bahagian Analisa Cukai dan Bahagian Pengurusan Belanjawan, Kementerian Kewangan Malaysia, went as far back as 2007 and had breakdowns for each federal ministry.

It showed the same consistent trend of federal government spending more in Sabah than what it collected in each year. Nothing is more revealing than the truth and fact! Statistics, in the end, don't lie.

For the year 2012 onwards, there is no reason to believe the trend will reverse itself especially when Dato Sri Najib Tun Razak has made it very clear that special emphasis will be placed on Sabah's development under his economic transformation program.

Towards this, Barisan Nasional Sabah is happy to note that to date, the Prime Minister has not disappointed Sabahans.

*end*




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