Malaysia - Energy and power

Malaysia's net installed electrical generating capacity in 1998 stood at 13,541 MW. Electrical energy production increased from 1,622 million kWh in 1963 to 4,971 million kWh in 1974 and 57,435 million kWh in 1998. In 1996, 16% of electrical production was hydrogenerated, and over 83% was of thermal origin. The National Electricity Board, a state-owned corporation, supplies the greater part of the nation's power.

Crude oil, developed in the 1970s, is now the chief mineral produced, with reserves estimated at 3 billion barrels in early 2002. In 2001, output averaged 659,205 barrels per day. Malaysia's oil is produced offshore, primarily in the peninsular region. Of new and increasing importance are large offshore natural gas deposits, with reserves estimated at more than 2.1 trillion cu m (74 trillion cu ft). Production in 2000 totaled 42.5 billion cu m (1.5 trillion cu ft). The principal gas fields are the Trengganu, off the east coast of Peninsular Malaysia, and the Central Luconia, Bintulu, and Labuan fields, located off the coasts of Sabah and Sarawak. In 2000, liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports totaled 20 billion cu m. Production of oil and natural gas is controlled by the National Petroleum Co. (PETRONAS).

Since reserves of oil are limited and local coal is of an inferior grade, the government has greatly expanded efforts to harness the country's hydroelectric potential and natural gas as alternative energy sources. In 1994, the government approved the construction of the 2,400 MW Bakun hydroelectric project in Sarawak. However, after a 1996 high court ruling halting the project on environmental grounds, it was suspended indefinitely in 1997 because its unexpectedly high costs made it unfeasible in light of the country's unfavorable economic climate.

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