The Billionth Barrel Monument was commissioned by the Brunei Shell Petroleum Company in 1991. As the name suggests, it commemorates the billionth barrel of crude oil produced at the Seria field.
The monument was erected close to the site of the first well discovered in Brunei in 1929. Its six arches, which join at the top, represent both the flow of oil from beneath the ground to the surface, as well as the number of decades of oil exploration and production that led to the billionth barrel. Atop the monument sits the national emblem of Brunei, representing the prosperity of the nation and its people.
Leading up to the monument is a series of copper panels depicting various scenes from Brunei’s oil industry. And once you’ve had a look at these and the monument itself, you can take a stroll along the nearby beach. From here, you can look out to sea to the oil rigs in the distance, working tirelessly to produce the Sultan’s next billion barrels.
The Billionth Barrel Monument was unveiled on July 18, 1991, by Hassanal Bolkiah, the 29th and current Sultan (and Prime Minister) of Brunei. The Sultan, whose full name is—wait for it —Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah ibni Al-Marhum Sultan Haji Omar Ali Saifuddien Sa’adul Khairi Waddien Sultan and Yang di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam, is also one of the world’s few remaining absolute monarchs.
Thanks in large part to the highly productive Seria field, Hassanal Bolkiah also ranks among the wealthiest individuals in the world. You may have heard about him in the news in 2019, after he spearheaded legislation to make homosexuality and adultery punishable by death by stoning.
Know Before You Go
The Billionth Barrel Monument is located along the beach and just off Jln Tengah Street in the town of Seria on the coast of Brunei. From Bandar Seri Begawan (the capital of Brunei), you can take a bus to Seria and then a taxi to the monument, or rent a car in the capital and drive. The monument is always open, and sunset is the most popular time for visiting. Entrance is free.