100th Year Anniversary of 1st Oil Discovery

Here in Miri, oil and Miri are synonymous. For a clearer picture on this, do spend few second to go back to history. 😉

In 1882, Claude Champion de Crisping is the first person who recorded oil in Sarawak. He was then an administrator whom based at Claude Town (or now known as Marudi). Those days, the central administration was at Marudi before it was moved to Miri.

i share the same d.o.b with sir charles brooke :)

In 1888, an anthropologist, geographer, avid collector of natural specimens, Dr. Charles Hose studied oil seepages and compiled map of area not less than 28 oil seepages. In 1904, he obtain permission from the Rajah (my twin-Sir Charles Brooke ;p) to share the maps with Anglo-Saxon Petroleum company (or what is known as SHELL now). Dr. Josef Theodor Erb, Chief Geologist was the SHELL key person at that time.

Mr. Erb and Mr. Hose

On the 10th August 1910, the drilling began and 4 months later (22nd December 1910), oil was struck, a depth of 137m. Back then, the first well was known as Miri Well #1 and now it is famously known as ‘The Grand Old Lady of Miri’.

the famous shell logo

I believe Miri grows progressively from there onward. 😉

Out of curiosity, Terry and I went to Pustaka Miri to attend a forum on the history of Miri and petroleum. Little did I know it was actually a big thing and it was about 100th Year Anniversary of First Oil Discovery Forum & Exhibition (I blame the stupid third party who gave me wrong info on this).

the program booklet

the digital backdrop

i liked the auditorium environment and this is taken from the last row of the seatings

The 100th Year Anniversary of First Oil Discovery Forum & Exhibition was held to commemorate the Miri City Anniversary celebration and the 100th year anniversary of oil discovery in Miri. It was organized by Pustaka Miri, co-joint organized with SHELL together with Miri City Council, Persatuan Melayu Miri and Lembaga Amanah & Kebajikan Melayu Miri. The memorable event was held at the Pustaka Miri auditorium and was officiated by YB Datuk Patinggi Dr. George Chan Hong Nam, Deputy Chief Minister (I), Minister of Tourism Heritage & Industrial Development.

the organiser logos

 organiser name list made available in the program booklet

datuk patinggi giving his speech

whenever there's vvip guest of honour, videomen can be seen around otherwise one will not get to see them in action ;p

After the launching of the exhibition, the forum session began soon after the VVIP guest left the auditorium to attend another function elswhere. There were 3 invited speakers in their own field of expertise.

invited speakers brief biodate made available in the program booklet

souvenir to one of the speaker by the guest of honour witness by acting ceo of pustaka sarawak, mr. japri

the invited speakers and the moderator

The forum starts with an interesting flashback of Miri history; from a small fishing village to a world recognized city presented by Dr. Charles Leh, Curator of Natural History to Sarawak Museum.

dr leh in action

Miri will not be as what it is today if it wasn’t due to SHELL commitment by giving back to the community. The second session of the forum was about SHELL contribution in the development of Miri. It was presented by the Human Resource Director of SHELL Malaysia, Mr. Leslie Hayward (a Kuching guy).

mr leslie hayward in action

I get to know SHELL has been in Malaysia for 118 years and this coming August, it will 100 years in Miri. SHELL in Miri does exploration and production hence making it as the largest employer business in Asia. SHELL also has the biggest number of petrol station in Malaysia. In term of employment, 53% of senior staff are Sarawakian, 63% of technician staff are Sarawakian and 5 management position out of 11 are Sarawakian.

dato lau in action and look at how attentive is the hr director of shell listening to his presentation. siap dengan kaki bersilang yo.. ;p

The last forum speaker was Dato Lau Siew Wai who is Miri township key player. In short, he’s a living legend on the development of Miri since the early years. As much as I admire and adore his contribution, I dislike him too. I dislike hisChina businessman ideology’. It may work well back then but not in the era of millennium. Development does evolve overtime and we have to adapt to changes should it requires. Yes??

Overall, it wasn’t felt like attending a forum. It was more to listening to a presentation apart from witnessing funny jokes by Dato Lau. I was quite disappointed about it but somehow I managed to pull myself together upon chatting with Mr. Lucas Johnny, a local collector of ancient artifacts. I find that this is more interesting than attending the forum. Terry and I have few plans arranged for him and time will tell whether it will be materialized or not. 😉

For the record, the 100th Year Anniversary of First Oil Discovery Exhibition will go on for a month (effective from 20th May 2010) at Pustaka Miri lobby area. To Mirian, do feel free to drop by. The Pustaka Miri is open to public from 11am-7pm on daily basis and only closed during public holiday.


  1. isah

    25 May, 2010 at 4:13 am

    Thanks for posting this topic. It brought back many memories to me as I’ve worked with Shell for 23 years 🙂 And familiar faces too…like Leslie Hayward. Ha ha..memang Dato Lau is a ‘noisy’ guy, he was just a contractor when he was friends witn my late father in the old days 🙂

    1. ladybirdmollyz

      25 May, 2010 at 5:47 am

      so you were with shell, glad to know that. :)its quite norm here in miri to know almost everyone be it their parent, brother, sister, auntie, uncle, cousin are working under the shell umbrella.

      indeed dato lau is a ‘noisy’ person but sometime being ‘noisy’ at the wrong place and time is quite annoying like what he did during the forum. despite that, i still admire that old man, really. each time i read his bibliography, i felt inspired and motivated. 😉

  2. netster

    25 May, 2010 at 9:15 am

    100th year! unbelievable and yet Miri, Sarawak still can’t count on oil to become famous and super develop like in KL or Bruneian who enjoy great subsidiary from the government.

    I’m still impressed with the 100th Years oil in Miri! unbelievable 🙂 wow!

    Great post! Thanks for taking time to share.


    1. ladybirdmollyz

      25 May, 2010 at 9:39 am

      yup it has been 100 years in miri and im still living in a small ‘city’ where it is also known as the hub of oil & gas in the world instead of living in a metropolitan city. but despite all that, i am proud to say that KL is well developed today due to MIRI contributions.

      kl twin tower will not exist without the land of hornbill contribution, dont you think so? 🙂

      anyway, glad to have you back. do drop by often in the future. 😉

  3. Rodz

    25 May, 2010 at 10:34 am

    100 years oredi?! Wow!! Impressive and disappointing too. Why? because our state didn’t really get what it should from that 100 years’ “achievement”.

    I agree with you on our land’s “contribution” to the development of other parts of M’sia (in this case, OIL). It’s more like our country will “not exist” without Sarawak (in the extreme thought).

    Anyway, I miss Miri huhuhu :p

    1. ladybirdmollyz

      25 May, 2010 at 4:00 pm

      bingo!!! 🙂

      perhaps SHELL should consider to give ‘more’ in terms of infrastructure development, human development, education, etc, the list goes on. bottom line, mirian benefit from it more as compare to the rest. 😉

      100 years seem to be old but dont forget exploration & production are still going on strong.

  4. Leslie Hayward

    30 May, 2010 at 2:32 pm

    Sorry you didn’t find the forum interesting…perhaps it could have been more interactive so that we can have a real forum as opposed to a “presentation.”

    1. ladybirdmollyz

      30 May, 2010 at 11:09 pm

      what a surprise!! the ‘man’ is in the house and for that i felt honoured. thank you for dropping by at my humble ‘crib’ sir. 🙂

      honestly, from my perspective it wasn’t a forum. it was more like attending a seminar session SIMPLY becoz due to the incompentency of the moderator controlling the whole ‘forum’ session. the whole forum session should be an interactive (like what you’ve mentioned above) instead of letting us the audience falling ‘asleep’. i stay ‘awake’ simply bcoz i have the interest & passion in history so i find everything presented are very valuable. 😉

      from a career person point of view, your presentation is well presented. as a matter of fact, i got plenty of info (bad & good) 😉 but from a student point of view,it was boring as it was presented in a monotone voice mode (i liked the way dato lau voice tone ;p). to make it worst, the moderator failed to get the audience to interact with each speaker. 🙁

      im looking forward to a real forum. would love to see ‘cat and dog fight’. 🙂

Leave a Reply

CommentLuv badge