Petronas executive keen on an Andaman Sea future

Malaysia’s state-owned energy firm Petronas is looking at new opportunities in Myanmar as part of a regional push, according to company senior executives.

The firm has won four onshore blocks and intends to participate in future bidding rounds for offshore blocks, said Encik Sharbini Suhaili, vice president of Petronas Upstream International.

“We are still looking at opportunities,” he said at a Kuala Lumpur press conference during week following the 8th International Petroleum Technology Conference (IPTC).

“Myanmar is always a focus country for us. It is one of the first countries that we went into overseas, so there is sentimental value for us. We would like to see Myanmar as one of our headliners with steady growth,” he said.

Petronas first signed a production sharing contract for the offshore Yetagun gas field project in 1990, with production starting in 2003. The company was awarded rights to explore and produce another four onshore blocks in 2012 and 2014.

However, world oil prices have been in freefall this year, and all petroleum firms including Petronas feel the pinch. Mr Suhali said that while some Petronas projects may be delayed, he doesn’t foresee cancelling any altogether.

Petronas has made new investments in projects in Gabon, China, Angola and Ireland this year, and also announced a US$550 million deal with Argentina’s state-owned oil company YPT last week.

The firm generated profits of US$105 billion by the end of 2013, standing as the 69th largest firm in the Fortune 500 and in sixth position among oil and gas business.

The issue of falling oil prices dominated discussions at the IPTC meeting. Co-hosted by Shell and Schlumberger and sponsored by four professional associations, the event in Kuala Lumpur saw 7000 oil and gas attendees from 62 countries, including 800 oil and gas business organisations.


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