Queen Beatrix tours BSP Head Office
Aziz Idris, Syafiq Affendy & Nazirul Hakeem A

BRUNEI Shell Petroleum (BSP) Co Sdn Bhd yesterday welcomed Her Majesty Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands to the BSP Head Office in Panaga, Seria as part of her three-day State Visit to Brunei that has strengthened bilateral relations between the two countries.

Flying in by helicopter, Her Majesty the Queen was accompanied by His Royal Highness Prince Haji Al-Muhtadee Billah, the Crown Prince and Senior Minister at the Prime Minister’s Office, and Her Royal Highness Paduka Seri Pengiran Anak Isteri Pengiran Anak Sarah as well as His Royal Highness Prince Willem-Alexander, the Prince of Orange, and Her Royal Highness Princess Maxima of the Netherlands.

Welcoming the royal entourage were Pehin Datu Singamanteri Colonel (Rtd) Dato Seri Setia (Dr) Hj Mohammad Yasmin bin Hj Umar, the Minister of Energy at the Prime Minister’s Office, and Pehin Orang Kaya Seri Kerna Dato Seri Setia (Dr) Hj Awg Abu Bakar Haji Apong, the Minister of Education, along with Ken Marnoch, BSP Managing Director.

Her Majesty was greeted by 150 children from Panaga School who waved mini Brunei and Dutch flags.

The royal entourage proceeded to the BSP Managing Director’s Office for the signing of a visitor’s book and parchment, while the rest of the entourage went to the BSP Atrium, where Deputy Managing Director of BSP, Hj Salleh Bostaman bin Hj Zainal Abidin presented welcoming remarks.

Hj Salleh Bostaman said: “We are delighted to host the visit of Her Majesty Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands and the royal entourage to Brunei Shell Petroleum this morning. Brunei Darussalam and the Netherlands have enjoyed warm ties between His Majesty’s Government and Royal Dutch Shell in the Oil and Gas industry for the past 84 years.

“Shell has a dominant presence in this country. It has played a major role, being the engine of growth and has contributed to the development of the country to what it is now.”

The visit included an overview of Brunei Shell Joint Venture (BSJV) companies and their contributions towards the country with a poster presentation set up at the BSP Atrium.

A live video conference followed shortly between Her Majesty and three staff who are stationed offshore on the Champion 7 platform.

Borneo Bulletin reporters asked Queen Beatrix about her historic visit to the Sultanate. Her Majesty said that the trip has been “very interesting and very nice”.

Her Majesty and the royal entourage concluded the visit with a 50-minute aerial tour of the Heart of Borneo in Labi which showcases the country’s rich biodiversity as well as a tour along the coastal areas, including a look at the on-going highway projects.

His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam visited the Netherlands in January 2011, where the ruler toured the Royal Dutch Shell Headquarters (RDS) to commemorate the 80th anniversary of the partnership between the Brunei Government and RDS. The Government of Brunei and a company in the Royal Dutch Shell Group of Companies each owns a 50 per cent-stake in BSP.

The three-day State Visit is Her Majesty’s first official visit to Brunei Darussalam since both countries established diplomatic relations in 1984. The Netherlands and Brunei Darussalam continue to promote diversity in non-oil and gas sectors and are looking to expand economic relations.

There are more than 300 Dutch citizens residing in the country, mostly working with BSP and other companies in the oil and gas sector. - Borneo Bulletin (23 January 2013)