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Petronas to press on with expansion abroad

Executive vice-president Datuk Mohd Anuar Taib (right) says Petronas needs to balance its output portfolio. — Picture courtesy of PetronasExecutive vice-president Datuk Mohd Anuar Taib (right) says Petronas needs to balance its output portfolio. — Picture courtesy of PetronasKUALA LUMPUR, Aug 24 — National oil company Petronas will continue seeking opportunities to expand its presence overseas, despite the prolonged weak global oil prices, says executive vice-president and chief executive officer for upstream Datuk Mohd Anuar Taib.

He said the company needed to balance its output portfolio, which currently stood at 70 per cent gas and 30 per cent oil.

“We want to balance it (portfolio) a little better by positioning ourselves in the oil province, and this is where you see the recent announcement about us going into (oil) exploration blocks in Mexico. Today, we have three exploration blocks in Mexico,” he told Bernama.

He said part of the Gulf of Mexico in United States territory had always been a prolific deepwater oil production area.

“Mexico only recently opened its territory in the Gulf to foreign investors. We believed in those locations in deciding to bid and feel very thankful for getting three blocks,” he added.

Mohd Anuar said apart from Mexico, the company also planned to expand its presence in the Middle East with its return to Iran in the study phase.

The company has maintained a presence in Iraq from 2010.

As of 2016, Petronas upstream had entered 23 countries globally, with 216 producing fields, 381 offshore platforms and 21 floating facilities.

Pointing to the 2015 oil price crash as the start of a new challenging phase for the global oil and gas industry, Mohd Anuar said it would not deter Petronas from expanding its overseas presence and maintaining the annual production.

He said the company was also looking at expanding its presence in South-east Asia and Asean by leveraging on the good relationship between Malaysia and its neighbours.

“Our governments have been collaborating with one another. Thus, we also have a well-established collaboration between national oil companies.

“The Asean market has tremendous potential with 600 million people in the region. So, this is also an area of focus for Petronas’ upstream and downstream business,” he added.

Apart from oil, he said Petronas would also be focusing on developing its unconventional gas resources, mainly driven by its presence in Canada.

“We have actually invested 10 billion Canadian dollars in the North Montney area and now have a proven resource base of about 22.3 trillion cubic feet, a significant asset after Malaysia itself, with a long lease period.

“We have been producing for the domestic market in Canada since 2012, at close to 600 million standard cubic feet per day. Our operations in Canada have been generating revenue ever since,” Mohd Anuar said.

He also said the company needed to continue exploring new opportunities to maintain its annual production capacity, as resources depleted at a rate of between nine and 10 per cent.

Last year, Petronas’ output was estimated at 648,000 barrels per day.

According to Mohd Anuar, Petronas was also focusing on the liquefied natural gas (LNG) business internationally.

Petronas has been a significant LNG player with a market share of 18 per cent in Japan, nine per cent in South Korea and 12 per cent in China, but these are matured markets with saturated growth.

“The growth is moving towards the Indian subcontinent and we see growth in South-east Asia as well, especially in Indonesia, Myanmar and Thailand,” Mohd Anuar said, adding, there was also potential in the Middle East, with its reputation of being a heavy LNG user. — Bernama

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