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PETRONAS to keep focus on natural gas moving forward

  • Wednesday, 28 Jun 2023

Talking shop: Todd (left) moderating the plenary session that featured (from second left) Adif, O’Brien, Montri and Takayuki on Day 2 of Energy Asia 2023. — LOW LAY PHON/The Star

KUALA LUMPUR: Petroliam Nasional Bhd (PETRONAS) anticipates its domestic oil and gas (O&G) production peaking at about two million barrels of oil equivalent per day (boepd) by end of 2030, with natural gas remaining as the dominant component throughout.

PETRONAS upstream business executive vice president and chief executive officer (CEO) Adif Zulkifli said the majority of its current production, around 60% to 70%, is natural gas, and this will remain unchanged in the future.

“We continue to look for more gas portfolio, but of course, there is commitment in Malaysia, I think we need to continue to do some oil exploration to fill up our refineries,” he said during a plenary titled “The Long Game in Upstream: Strategies for a Low-Carbon World” at Energy Asia 2023 yesterday.

Moreover, during the discussion, experts believe that natural gas demand is expected to experience substantial growth, particularly in Asian countries, as they seek cleaner energy alternatives to high carbon intensity coal.

The CEO of a Japanese O&G production company Inpex Corp, Takayuki Ueda, said oil and natural gas will still play an important role for the years ahead, especially in facilitating the transition to cleaner energy sources.

This view was echoed by ConocoPhillips global operations senior vice president Andy O’Brien who said: “The world needs hydrocarbons for decades to come, particularly in terms of ensuring energy security.”

PTT Exploration and Production Pcl (PTTEP) CEO Montri Rawanchaikul, on the other hand, opined that in order to continue utilising O&G resources, the implementation of carbon capture storage (CCS) is both crucial and unavoidable.

Montri emphasised the importance to strike a balance between energy security and addressing climate change concerns.

“Energy security is a quality of life. If you don’t have energy security, you wouldn’t have the quality of life today,” he said during the plenary session moderated by S&P Global upstream solutions head Leanne Todd.

Additionally, Adif said, when it comes to achieving negative carbon emissions, CCS stands alone as the only viable option.

As demand for energy is expected to increase significantly inline with population growth in the Asia region, PETRONAS chief operating officer Adnan Zainal Abidin anticipates that natural gas will be the primary fuel to meet this demand, at least for the shorter term.

Adnan, who is also the executive vice president of PETRONAS’ gas business, anticipates a substantial increase in natural gas demand in Malaysia as Tenaga Nasional Bhd (TNB) plans to phase out coal-generated power, driving the shift towards natural gas as an alternative energy source.

“We expect gas demand to have a significant uptick in 2026 onwards, especially in Peninsular Malaysia,” he said during another plenary tilted “Gas and Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG): Powering Asia’s Growth”, moderated by S&P Global chief strategist for global gas Michael Stoppard

Similarly, Tellurian president and CEO Octávio Simões believes the crucial role of natural gas in Asia stems from the necessity to achieve net-zero emissions, accommodate the imminent doubling of energy demand due to population growth, and mitigate coal dependency observed in the past.

Separately, in another plenary discussion titled “Asean Climate Finance for Developing Economies, experts widely recognised the significant role of public-private partnerships (PPP) to finance the transition towards a cleaner energy economy.

According to the International Energy Agency, clean energy investment will need to hit over US$4tril (RM18.66tril) a year by 2030 in its net zero emissions by 2050 scenario.

Bank Negara sustainability unit director Madelena Mohamed believe the support from the financial sector should extend beyond mere financing, emphasising the need for comprehensive assistance in driving the transition towards a cleaner energy economy.

“Financial sector is the heart of the economy and play a critical role and critical enabler. They have a critical role in facilitating the transition for the economy,” she said during the plenary moderated by S&P Global head of Asean environmental, social and governance (ESG) solutions Vivian Zheng.

According to her, collaboration effort from both the public and private sectors is crucial to facilitate the transition to a cleaner and greener economy.

“New models of climate finance is very much needed for it to supplement traditional finance. The PPP, as well as new forms of financing and protection need to be accelerated,” Madelena said.

Both other speakers during the session, namely University of Tokyo professor and executive vice president Naoko Ishii and Japan Bank for International Cooperation governor Nobumitsu Hayashi, also opined that blended finance is a crucial approach in mobilising funding for sustainable development initiatives.

The inaugural Energy Asia was attended by more than 3,000 delegates, over 100 speakers, and 46 sponsors representing 19 industries from across 27 countries.



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