Petronas to Trim Foreign Explorations-Paper

Source: www.gulfoilandgas.com 6/5/2010, Location: Asia

Malaysia's state oil firm Petronas wants to trim overseas exploration and set aside more resources for oil fields at home, the Star newspaper said, citing Petronas' chief Shamsul Azhar Abbas.

It also plans to sell off non-core operations, such as prime properties, to focus more on the oil and gas business, the newspaper said.

"What's more important now is asset quality in terms of returns and not just size," said Shamsul, who was appointed Petronas chief executive by the government in February.

"We have to make tough decision on areas to divest, harvest or spend more money for economies of scale," he said in an editor briefing for local media.

The results from Petronas' foreign exploration activities in 30 countries have not met expectations, the newspaper said, citing Shamsul.

On the disposal of non-core assets, Shamsul said: "We will not divest them totally but we have to think within the group of how to manage them."

Shamsul, 57, replaced gritty veteran Hassan Merican who turned the national oil company into a global powerhouse and resisted government demands on its revenues.

Petronas has, in recent years, driven its search for reserves overseas and recently won contracts in Iraq and Venezuela. More controversially, it is involved in natural gas projects in Iran and oil exploration in Sudan.

Petronas is also a partner in deals with oil majors like Exxon Mobil Corp in Malaysia.


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