KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 26 (Reuters) - Malaysia’s state oil firm Petronas said on Friday its first quarter net profit jumped 57 percent from a year ago, bolstered by strong energy prices, although full-year profits would likely remain around 2010’s levels as crude prices cool.
Petronas announced a first quarter net profit of 19.4 billion ringgit ($6.5 billion) compared to 12.3 billion ringgit a year ago.
Chief executive Shamsul Azhar Abbas said Petronas realised a weighted average price of crude of $122.26 per barrel in the first quarter compared to $76.14 in the fourth quarter.
The price of crude was expected to moderate to $80-$85 per barrel moving into 2012, and that signs from July numbers were already pointing to a slowdown in the economy, he said.
Shamsul added that he would be “happy” if Petronas, which is changing its financial year end from March 30 to Dec 31, reported a full-year nine-month pre-tax profit of between 60 billion-70 billion ringgit, which is not far from the 60 billion ringgit reported for the nine-month period last year.
Gas supplies to domestic consumers are expected to remain tight due to shutdown of gas facilities for maintenance, although a government move to gradually remove subsidies could help ease demand pressure, Shamsul said.
$1 = 2.988 Malaysian Ringgit Reporting by Min Hun Fong; editing by Liau Y-Sing