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Energy outlook challenging amid slowing economy, geopolitical tensions: Petronas

Highlights

Higher gas production offset by lower oil, condensate

LNG sales up 5.3%, driven by higher Bintulu output

Singapore — The outlook for the energy sector remains challenging, with a slowing global economy and ongoing geopolitical tensions resulting in demand disruption and lower prices, Malaysia's state-owned oil and gas company Petronas said in its third quarter results Tuesday.

Petronas posted a 3% year-on-year drop in revenue to Malaysian ringgit 176.2 billion ($42.2 billion) for January-September amid challenging market conditions and sustained pressure on commodity prices and margins.

Reduced sales of crude oil and condensates were partly offset by higher LNG and petroleum products sales, while lower prices were partly counterbalanced by the effect of the weakening Ringgit against the US dollar, the company said.

"While our performance will continue to be impacted by the challenging environment, Petronas' financial position is expected to remain robust," Petronas President and Group CEO Wan Zulkiflee Wan Ariffin said. "We will remain focused on driving operational efficiency and commercial excellence across the group."

UPSTREAM OUTPUT LARGELY STABLE

Total production for the first nine months of 2019 was 2.33 million barrels of oil equivalent/day, edging up from 2.31 million boe/day in the same period a year earlier, as higher natural gas production was largely offset by lower liquid production in Malaysia.

A total of 21 company projects have achieved first hydrocarbon, adding 79,000 boe/day of new production to date, comprising 19 brownfields in Peninsular Malaysia, Sarawak, Iraq, Myanmar and South Sudan, one greenfield in Sarawak and one unconventional project in Argentina.

A total of 33 projects achieved FID over January-September, comprising six international projects and 27 projects in Malaysia, which include the Kasawari major gas development project offshore Sarawak.

The company's total LNG sales volume for the nine-month period were up 5.3% on year at 21.9 million mt, attributed mainly to higher production at Malaysia's Bintulu export plant.

Petronas also said it has performed five cooling down services at its Pengerang facility, to serve warm LNG vessels after ship dry-docking, and completed two LNG break-bulking activities via ship-to-ship transfer in Malaysian waters to serve LNG buyers with requirements for smaller LNG parcels.

-- Abache Abreu, abache.abreu@spglobal.com

-- Edited by Wendy Wells, wendy.wells@spglobal.com