KUALA LUMPUR Aug 13 Malaysia's state oil firm
Petroliam Nasional (Petronas) said on Wednesday its
second-quarter net profit rose 38 percent, driven by stronger
oil production and sales of liquefied natural gas (LNG).
Net profit in the April to June period rose to 21.06 billion
ringgit ($660.8 million) from 15.26 billion ringgit a year
earlier, Petronas said. Revenue in the quarter increased 14.7
percent to 85.36 billion ringgit from 74.42 billion ringgit a
Petronas, which finances more than a third of Malaysia's
government budget via dividends, has in recent years invested
heavily in Canadian shale assets, Iraqi oil fields and explored
for new reserves in Malaysia as part of its five-year 300
billion ringgit capex programme that ends in 2015.
Chief Executive Shamsul Azhar Abbas said declining oil
prices and rising operational cost could dent earnings in the
second half of this year.
"Things are not going to be easy moving forward," he told
reporters at a briefing. "It's getting harder to develop oil and
gas, and cost continues to increase."
Shamsul said crude oil prices are expected to fall closer to
$95 per barrel in the remaining part of the year. Oil prices
averaged $108.9 per barrel in the first six months of 2014.
Petronas' total domestic and international production
climbed 6.3 percent in the second quarter to 2.2 million barrels
of oil equivalent, from 2.07 million tonnes, as the Fortune 500
company ramped up output in Malaysia, Iraq, South Sudan and
Petronas plans to increase its overseas net profit
contribution to 20 percent from 11 percent over the next five
years, Shamsul added.
Shamsul said China's Sinopec Group had received approval
from the Chinese government to buy a 15 percent stake in
Petronas' Pacific NorthWest LNG export facility and has agreed
on a direct purchase of 3 million tonnes of LNG for five years.
Petronas announced in April that it will sell Sinopec Group,
the parent of Hong Kong and Shanghai-listed top Asian refiner
Sinopec Corp, a 15 percent stake in the $11 billion export
terminal on Canada's Pacific Coast.
(Reporting By Al-Zaquan Amer Hamzah; Writing By Yantoultra
Ngui; editing by Stuart Grudgings)