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IBRU: Centre for Borders Research

Boundary news

Boundary news Headlines

Details emerge of the 2009 Brunei-Malaysia maritime agreement

(13 May 2010)

Details are emerging that clarify the agreement reached between Malaysia and Brunei in March 2009 concerning their maritime boundary and additional arrangements. In late April 2010, Malaysia announced that it had terminated the contracts to off shore concession blocks L and M, indicating that these blocks were no longer under Malaysian jurisdiction. Located off the northwest coast of Malaysia’s Sabah province and northeast of Brunei, these two blocks had been included previously in Brunei's maritime claims and identified as blocks J and K respectively. Under a contract awarded by Brunei for Block J (Block L in Malaysia), TotalElfFina had an exploration vessel chased from the disputed area by a Malaysian patrol boat in late May 2003.

Under the 2009 agreement, it appears that these two blocks have been placed on the Brunei side of the agreed maritime boundary, possibly in a deal which saw Brunei relinquish its long-held claim to the Limbang province, a region that effectively separates the eastern and western portions of Brunei’s land territory on the island of Borneo. While the former blocks L and M are now under Brunei’s maritime jurisdiction, the Malaysian foreign ministry has confirmed that the agreement allows Malaysia to participate in the joint development of these areas on a commercial basis for a period of 40 years. Full details of the 2009 agreement still have not been released.

‘Oil, gas deal allows for sharing of revenue’ New Straits Times, 4 May 2010; 'Seeking win-win solution over oil-fields issue' New Straits Times, 3 May 2010; 'M'sia-Brunei deal on oil - Limbang in exchange for two blocks?' Borneo Bulletin, 2 May 2010.