*Conoco talking to Petronas to grow in Malaysian upstream
*Hard to say if firms would shift to Asia post-Gulf spill
*Gulf of Mexico to stay key supply point for U.S., the
(Adds details, background
By Seng Li Peng
KUALA LUMPUR, June 8 ConocoPhillips (COP.N),
the third-largest U.S. oil company by market value, is talking
to national energy giant Petronas to expand its position in the
upstream sector in Malaysia, a senior executive said on
"We are certainly looking for opportunities in Malaysia. We
are talking to Petronas," said Ryan M Lance, ConocoPhillips'
Senior Vice President, Exploration & Production, International.
"We would love to expand our position in Malaysia," he told
Reuters on the sidelines of an oil and gas conference in the
Asked what areas ConocoPhillips is targeting, he said:
"Exploration oil and gas. We are always looking for good
ConocoPhillips has interests in three deepwater blocks off
the eastern Malaysian state of Sabah: Block G, Block J and
Kebabangan Cluster, it said on its website. It also has a
in a refinery in Malacca with joint-venture partner Petronas
When asked if oil companies would shift their exploration
work to Asia following the BP (BP.L) oil spill in the Gulf of
Mexico, Lance said:
"It is tough to speculate right now. We just have to wait
and see what went wrong and understand what the implications
"The Gulf of Mexico will remain an important supply point
for the U.S. and the world."
ConocoPhillips does not have extensive offshore exploration
and production operations on the U.S. Gulf Coast. But it has an
18 percent interest in the BP-operated Tiber prospect in the
Gulf, in which Brazil's Petrobras PETR4.BR has a 20 percent
Lance earlier told reporters expansion plans on the Melaka
II refinery, in which ConocoPhillips has a 47 percent stake
while Petronas holds 51 percent, have already been executed.
But he did not specify what units were upgraded.
Industry sources had said that the joint venture partners
had planned to build a 30,000-40,000 bpd hydrocracker for
Melaka II, but it might have been put on hold.
The 140,000-bpd refinery also had plans to refurbish one of
two crude units to handle high-acidic crude as well as adding
adding 70,000 bpd of distillation capacity, sources had said,
though the progress of these projects were unclear.
When asked why ConocoPhillips pulled out of the Abu Dhabi
gas project in late April, he said:
"We have restrained capital. We have to look at total
costs. But Abu Dhabi is a good place to do business."
Abu Dhabi National Oil Co (ADNOC) had said it will proceed
with development of the Shah gas field despite ConocoPhillips'
exit from the project. [ID:nLDE63S1MH]
(Writing by Ramthan Hussain; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)