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Haji Azhar bin Haji Yahya is an oil industry veteran with a career spanning across exploration, production, commercial, strategy and management. He graduated with a Bachelor of Geology (BSc) (Hons) from the University of Nottingham in 1987. His career started off in Brunei Shell Petroleum Co. Sdn. Bhd. He has also worked in The Netherlands for NAM, Shell Exploration and Production Technology (EPT) and Shell Syria Exploration Ltd.  Throughout his career he has been involved in multiple oil and gas discoveries particularly in Brunei from onshore to the deep water.  During his 6 years in the Netherlands he was involved in a variety of exploration and deals in Northern Europe and a number of Middle East countries namely Syria, Iraq and Jordan.

In 2009, he became BSP’s Exploration Manager in which he was responsible for overseeing an intensive exploration programme in Brunei Darussalam. 

In 2011, he was seconded as the Permanent Secretary (Upstream) at the Energy Department, Prime Minister's Office for two years. At the same time, he was also assigned as CEO for PetroleumBRUNEI for an interim duration. He was awarded by His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu'izzaddin Waddaulah ibni Al-Marhum Sultan Haji Omar 'Ali Saifuddien Sa'adul Khairi Waddien, the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam, with The Most Blessed Order of Setia Negara Brunei (S.N.B) 3rd Class in July 2012. He returned to BSP in 2013. His last role in BSP was as Exploration and Commercial Director. After 28 years of technical and management career, he retired in March 2016.

On 31 July 2018, by the command of His Majesty The Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam, he was made Permanent Secretary (Energy), Ministry of Energy, Manpower and Industry.  He is married to Hajah Suhartiniwati bte Hj Md Idris, blessed with three children and loves exploring the outdoors, hiking in the mountains and travelling.