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'The Oil Town'
The successful discovery of offshore oil in the 1970s triggered a fresh development boom in Miri; luxury hotels were built, more houses constructed and new shopping centers and industrial estates established. Miri ranked as the second most important commercial town in Sarawak after Sibu town. The shift offshore began to show results in 1962 with the discovery of oil in two areas offshore Sarawak. Other finds followed in rapid succession well into the 1970s. When production levels reached 95,000 barrels a day, Petronas, the Malaysian National oil company, made Lutong the hub of oil production activities in Miri.
Another boom in the 1960s to 70s are the timber industry - exporting timber became a highly lucrative industry, spawning many timber tycoons and a whole new timber and timber-related and export industries in Miri.
Tourism thrives around this time, due to proximity to natural wonders in the rural areas such as Niah Caves, Mulu Caves and the highlands, Miri came to be known as "Sarawak's Northern Gateway". The location of Miri acts as a gateway to these tourism spots, and at one point Miri Airport became one of the busiest airports in Malaysia.
In the mid-nineties, development plans for rapid changes and concentration on tourism to boost the commercial sector calls for the Oil Town to be elevated to become a City status - effectively becoming the first city in Malaysia to do so.