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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs     27 October  2011

Brunei urged to diversify oil, gas industry

Brunei's oil and gas sector needs to be diversified so that its benefits could branch out to other sectors of the economy, a consultant said.
Sasha Lennon, director of SGS Economics & Planning, said that Brunei lacks linkages between the oil and gas and the other industries, leading to a small multiplier effect.

SGS Economics, appointed by the Centre for Strategic and Policy Studies (CSPS) for the Land Optimisation Strategy for Industrial and Commercial Growth, said that Brunei fares poorly when compared to neighboring countries.

SGS' slide shows that 64 per cent of Brunei's revenues from the oil and gas sector is being contained within the industry rather than branching out to other sectors of the economy.

In Malaysia, on the other hand, one per cent is contained within the oil and gas industry, while the other 99 percent goes out to other sectors of the economy, while in Australia, around 88 percent goes out to other sectors.

"When there isn't many activities to other industries in the country, it leads to Brunei having a small multiplier," Lennon explained.

He said that what SGS is suggesting is to identify seven clusters in line with its strategy on how the optimisation of land can facilitate foreign direct investment, and ultimately, economic diversification.

He added: "We made a point the oil and gas sector needs to be diversified. By promoting other activities in the services industry or mining, that wealth can be captured locally."

Some of these sectors would be advance business services like financial, technical or scientific services, and other possibilities like surveying or mining.

"Another obvious sector is the transport, communication and logistics. We should see how that sector can be focused on so that it can potentially serve the oil and gas industries, and other activities," he said, adding that Brunei needs to embrace its geographical location.

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This year in Thailand-what next?

AseanAffairs   04 January 2011
By David Swartzentruber      

It is commonplace in journalism to write two types of articles at the transition point between the year that has passed and the New Year. As this writer qualifies as an “old hand” in observing Thailand with a track record dating back 14 years, it is time take a shot at what may unfold in Thailand in 2011.

The first issue that can’t be answered is the health of Thailand’s beloved King Bhumibol, who is now 83 years old. He is the world's longest reigning monarch, but elaborate birthday celebrations in December failed to mask concern over his health. More


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