Wednesday, 26 February 2014 06:28
PETROLIAM Nasional Bhd (Petronas) has dismissed claims that foreign oil and gas companies are discouraged from operating in Malaysia due to a change in the country’s policy.
“In the last few years, the government has actually been embracing more and more (in attracting major oil players).
“For instance, the country’s production sharing contracts (PSCs) have now reached 100, from around 70 to 80 previously,” said Petronas executive vice-president, exploration and production business, Datuk Wee Yiaw Hin, on the sidelines of a briefing on Offshore Technology Conference (OTC) Asia 2014, here, yesterday.
He said this when asked whether Newfield Exploration Co’s move to divest all its oil and gas assets in Malaysia is due to the government’s policy change in the industry.
“Newfield moving away from Malaysia does not change the number of PSCs active in Malaysia. They (Newfield) are farming out their capabilities,” he said, stressing that it is Newfield’s business decision, which is in line with a trend among American independent oil firms to restructure their focus and concentrate more on their businesses in the United States.
SapuraKencana Petroleum Bhd has recently bought Newfield International Holdings Inc’s entire equity in Newfield Malaysia Holding Inc for US$895.9 million (RM2.94 billion). Following the acquisition, SapuraKencana Energy Inc, a newly incorporated wholly-owned upstream subsidiary of SapuraKencana, now has interests in eight PSCs and one alliance contract in Peninsular Malaysia, Sabah and Sarawak.
“If we talk about how active people (oil companies) are in Malaysia, that does not change (with Newfield’s exit). In fact, all major players like Shell, Talisman and ExxonMobil are still around. While we are changing niche players, our number of PSCs is actually increasing,” Wee said.
He said the government, Petronas and industry players have been very progressive and the oil and gas industry in Malaysia has reached the level of maturity that allows it to grow further.
“We can serve the region… we have about 6,000 services firms operating here, with over 30 PSC operators.
“In fact, two months ago, we celebrated 100 active PSCs in Malaysia. We have signed over 150, but today there are 100 active PSCs,” he said.
Following Newfield’s exit, another American oil major Murphy Oil Corp – the third largest oil and gas producer in Malaysia, after Petronas and Shell – is reportedly looking to hive off a 30 per cent stake in its oil and gas assets in Malaysia at a price tag of US$2 billion to US$3 billion.
Several parties are said to have expressed interest, including Houston-based Coastal Energy Co, a firm linked to Malaysian investor Taek Jho Low, SapuraKencana and the oil and gas special-purpose acquisition companies, namely Hibiscus Petroleum Bhd, Sona Petroleum Bhd and CLIQ Energy Bhd.
Meanwhile, OTC Asia project director Cordella Wong-Gillett said the organiser is confident that the OTC Asia 2014 will meet its target of attracting about 10,000 delegates and trade visitors from over 60 countries.
The four-day event is scheduled to start from March 25 and will be held in conjunction with the Formula 1 Petronas Malaysia Grand Prix.
“As of now, we have received a total of 6,765 registrants from 61 countries, more than our initial target of 5,000 people,” she said. -BT