Tuesday, November 18, 2008

PETRONAS: Energy suppliers predict steady

By The Nation
Published on November 18, 2008

Demand for natural gas would drop in the short term due to the global financial crisis, but long-term prospects remain bright in Asia with expected annual growth of 8 per cent until 2015, the president of Malaysian oil and gas company Petronas said last week.

Liquefied natural gas (LNG) would remain the key energy resource, as plunging oil prices would reduce demand for other kinds of energy, CEO Sri Mohammad Hassan Marican said.

Asia would be the driving engine of the world economy, as it is the least-affected by the crisis, he said in a speech at GASEX 2008 hosted in Hanoi by Vietnam National Oil and Gas Group (PetroVietnam).

Natural gas demand in Asia would rise particularly for LNG, which could be transported to a remote buyer, unlike conventional natural gas which must be shipped through a pipeline, he said.

Regional cooperation is imperative. Those countries with gas reserves are urged to find technology to produce LNG at a lower cost, while partners in the business must pursue long-term mutual benefits and demonstrate trust. This would then balance demand and supply and ensure energy security and fair pricing, he added.

Trans Ngoc Canh, president and CEO of PetroVietnam, said natural gas would play a more vital role in the future and his company was ready to welcome partners in discovering new supplies to meet the growing demand.

In Vietnam, natural gas is used to produce liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), power and chemical fertiliser.

Energy companies attending the event, particularly national energy companies, stressed the need to ensure energy security for their countries in order to reduce the high-price effects and imbalances in demand and supply. They voiced support for the extension of natural gas pipelines to ensure security within the region.

A total of 42 oil and gas companies from 24 countries participated in the event, and about 10 were national energy companies. They also vowed to proceed with exports of LNG. Indonesia reported progress in new LNG projects like Doggi/Senoro LNH and Masela LNG.

Participants from Asean countries see the need to forge cooperation between sellers and buyers, so that supply is ready when the economy picks up.

Chitrapongse Kwangsukstith, senior executive vice president of PTT Group, was concerned that lower demand and lower prices would reduce investment. As development projects are delayed, once the economy picks up, supply would not be sufficient and that could cause another energy crisis in a few years.

"As oil prices fall below US$100 per barrel, most investors may cancel their projects due to lower returns," he said.

Thailand has expressed interest in jointly developing the Natuna field in Indonesia, where 50 trillion cubic feet of gas reserves have been found. However, several companies including Exxon and Petronas have also approached Indonesia.

Energy suppliers predict steady
เดอะ เนชั่น, Thailand