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Malaysian Petronas' overall Q3 output dips 1% on year, but gas volumes grow

Malaysia's national oil company Petronas Thursday posted a marginal 1%year-on-year decline in overall third quarter hydrocarbon production on theback of lower entitlements from Iraq and Canada.

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Production declines have been consistent with maturing fields and thelack of new discoveries in the rest of Southeast Asia as state-owned companieslike Petronas struggle to balance energy security concerns amid a low oilprice environment.

Petronas said Thursday its overall production for the quarter endedSeptember 30 was down 1% at 2.21 million b/d of oil equivalent from 2.23million boe/d a year earlier.

The production declines were mainly due to a lower entitlement from Iraq,sluggish activity in Canada and higher decline rates in the Malaysia-Thailandjoint development area and Egypt, the company said in its quarterly earningsstatement.

However, the declines were largely in crude oil, and were mostly offsetby higher gas production in regions like Sabah and Sarawak, and highercondensate volumes.

Petronas said the Kebabangan and NC3 fields registered an increase in gasproduction and two greenfield projects were brought on stream offshore EastMalaysia during the quarter, adding 24 million standard cubic feet/day ofoutput.

The company's total LNG sales rose 1% year on year to 7.22 million mt inQ3 from 7.12 million mt a year earlier, helped by higher gas production atTrain 9 of Malaysia's Bintulu project, Australia's Gladstone LNG project andthe Egyptian LNG project.

Gas production also benefited from the startup of Petronas' Floating LNG1 project and was partially offset by lower volumes from trading activities,the company said.

Despite lower overall production numbers, Petronas benefited from higheroil prices.

It posted a profit after tax of RM9.96 billion ($2.42 billion) for Q3, upfrom RM6.1 billion a year earlier, helped by higher revenue and lower netimpairment on assets and well costs. Petronas' group revenue for the quartertotaled RM53.7 billion, up 14% from RM47 billion a year earlier.

"In light of modest recovery in oil price and the continued drive forefficiency improvement, Petronas expects the group's overall year-endperformance to be better than last year," the company said.

-- Erip Yep,, -- Edited by Wendy Wells,