November 1, 2011

Petronas Wants to Boost Its International Operations

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 30 — State oil firm PETRONAS wants to upgrade its international operations by acquiring more valuable assets and exiting from less profitable ventures, The Edge newspaper reported today.

The weekly paper cited Petronas executive vice president of exploration and production Wee Yiaw Hin as saying the state-linked firm was keen on expanding in Asia, West Africa and South America.

“We actually want to grow our international operations. We will get out of those (countries) where profitability is low. And we have a few more on the list,” Wee was quoted as saying.

“Algeria is one. Over there, there is not a big field to develop, costs have gone up, profitability is very weak and it’s not easy to succeed,” he added.

In recent months, Petronas has announced plans to develop marginal oil fields back home and exit ventures in Pakistan and Ethopia, triggering speculation the oil firm was scaling down on international operations.

Petronas, which has a presence in 23 countries, is deriving good value from operations in Sudan, Myanmar, Turkmenistan and Vietnam and is on the lookout for “new basins and a few value growth areas” in these regions, Wee said.

He said Brazil and West Africa are also key targets for Petronas that will continue to grow its international business through government-to-government deals.

“We will (also) go according to business fundamentals, for example, in areas like western Africa and Brazil, which have 21 billion barrels of oil,” said Wee, who has worked in Shell for 30 years.

“We have looked at the rocks, we are quite clear that the rocks are good and we are sure there will be success.”

The four oil blocks in Iraq that Petronas won the rights to jointly develop will hit first commercial production by early as end 2012, Wee said. — Reuters

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