Monday, March 5, 2012

Petronas Profit Falls 36%: Sudan Dispute to Crimp Output (PICS)

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia—Petroliam Nasional Bhd.'s profit fell 36% for its fiscal third quarter in the absence of gains from stock-market listings a year earlier. The state-owned company also said a dispute in Sudan is likely to slow production this year.

Profit fell to 13.54 billion ringgit ($4.52 billion) for the quarter ended Dec. 31 from 21.21 billion ringgit a year earlier, the oil-and-gas company said Monday. Petronas, as the company is known, had reported gains totaling 9.2 billion ringgit from the listing of two units in the third quarter of 2010. Petronas Chemicals Group Bhd. made its debut in November and Malaysia Marine & Heavy Engineering Holdings Bhd. listed in October.

Revenue rose 30% to 78 billion ringgit.

Growth this year and next "will not be as strong as we have seen last year, as the current level of crude-oil prices won't last long. It is hurting the global economic growth," Petronas President and Chief Executive Shamsul Azhar Abbas said. "Only in 2014 will we see some upside" in terms of production.

He forecast that benchmark Brent crude oil will average $85 to $90 a barrel this year. It was trading just above $123 a barrel Monday. Petronas garnered an average price of $118 to $119 a barrel last year.

Petronas said 135,000 barrels a day of production in South Sudan has been halted because of a dispute with North Sudan over transit fees, Mr. Shamsul said.

The company's operations in North Sudan are running normally. "From the north, production is still ongoing but that's only 20,000 barrels" a day, said Wee Yiaw Hin, Petronas's executive vice president for exploration and production.

Petronas is Malaysia's only Fortune 500 company and the country's most profitable enterprise.

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