PETALING JAYA: The Sarawak State government said today oil and gas players operating in the state could go about their business as usual until the end of 2019, as it gathers "the necessary information from all industry players, as well as more detailed and comprehensive engagement with them". In a statement, the state government said it will begin to exercise its powers under state laws relating to oil and gas activities in Sarawak from July 1, 2018, including the Gas Distribution Ordinance 2016, which came into force on that date. According to a previous announcement by Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg, Sarawak assumes full regulatory authority over the upstream and downstream operations and activities of the oil and gas (O&G) industry from this month. "Regulations made under the Ordinance on licensing have been approved by the state government and the process of implementing it will commence immediately. As for state laws which are already in force, like the Oil Mining Ordinance 1958 and the Land Code 1958, the relevant state authorities will also begin the process of ensuring compliance with these laws," the state government said. Acknowledging that the transition would take time, it said industry players would be permitted to conduct their business and operations as usual up to the end of 2019, while at the same time taking necessary steps to ensure compliance with state laws. Less than two weeks ago, Petroliam Nasional Bhd (Petronas) failed in its attempt to get the country's highest court to declare it the exclusive owner of the petroleum resources as well as the regulator for the upstream industry throughout Malaysia, including in Sarawak. Petronas, the national oil company, in a statement on June 22, 2018 said the Federal Court had declined its application for leave solely on technical grounds and that there was nothing to stop it from pursuing further legal action, with the intent to seek clarity on its rights and position under the Petroleum Development Act 1974.