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.
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.
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’.
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 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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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 his ‘China 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.