Petronas 1Q Net Profit Falls 4.7%; 2013 Profit Likely Flat

Malaysia's state energy company Petroliam Nasional Bhd. said Wednesday first-quarter net profit slipped 4.7% from a year earlier but 2013 earnings may still be steady on higher output.

The company, also known as Petronas, is Malaysia's only Fortune 500 company and the Southeast Asian country's most profitable enterprise. Petronas pays about $10 billion in annual dividends to the government, making it the single largest contributor to state coffers.

Net profit for the three months ended March 31 was 17.56 billion ringgit ($5.7 billion) compared with MYR18.43 billion a year earlier, Petronas said in a statement. Revenue rose 1.9% in the period to MYR76.68 billion from MYR75.25 billion.

Petronas's operation in South Sudan resumed production in March this year after 15 months of disruption, although contribution to earnings will be marginal this year. Output will pick up from 2014, Shamsul Azhar Abbas, president and group chief executive of Petronas, said at an earnings conference.

"For this year, oil price will average about $95-$100 per barrel and as far as profit is concerned, it will probably be flat," Mr. Shamsul said.

Last year, Petronas lost around 120,000 barrels of oil a day from South Sudan due to a dispute between the country and its neighbour over transit fees, although production from North Sudan wasn't affected.

The company produced 743,000 barrels of crude oil in the first quarter, falling from 773,000 barrels during the same three months last year. Natural gas output was 1.41 million barrels of oil equivalent per day, up from 1.34 million barrels.


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