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Petronas Sees Q3 Net Profit Slide on Production Woes, Lower LNG Sales

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State-backed Petronas posted Thursday a 22 percent fall in third-quarter net profit, citing a halt in production in Sudan and lower liquefied natural gas (LNG) sales from the Petronas LNG Complex in Bintulu as factors that dented its net profit.

Petronas said net profit for the quarter ended Sep. 30, was at $4.08 billion (MYR12.44 billion) compared with $5.2 billion (MYR15.9 billion) a year ago.

The company’s total crude production for the quarter was 2 million barrels of oil equivalent (boe) a day, as compared to 2.1 million boe a year ago.

"Crude oil and condensates production was lower by 13.3 percent mainly due to natural field depletion, reservoir performance and operational challenges including geopolitical challenges in some international operations," the company said in its earnings statement.

Meanwhile, total LNG sales for the quarter slipped to 160,000 tonnes, down 2.6 percent from the previous year, in line with lower sales volume from the Petronas LNG Complex and "lower entitlement volume" from its operations in Egypt.

Malaysia has recognized that it needs to ramp up on its exploration activities, especially in the natural gas sector, if it wishes to realize its aim of becoming Asia’s choice LNG trading hub by the end of this decade.

Petronas has since increased its exploration efforts this year. The company announced Monday that it made two major gas discoveries offshore Sarawak, which combined could contain over 4 trillion cubic feet of natural gas reserves, at the Kuang North and Tukau Timar fields.

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