New Straits Times
Mexican expansion in the pipeline
Nasional Bhd (Petronas) president and group chief executive officer Tan Sri Wan Zulkiflee Wan Ariffin spoke candidly on a range of issues during a briefing at the national oil corporation’s headquarters recently. Here are some excerpts:
On Petronas’ investment
“We are the third-largest acreage resource holder in Mexico after Pemex (Petróleos Mexicanos) and Shell. I wanted to move away from being scattered all over the globe. We want to place more bets in Mexico.
“Very early on, we bought a lot of seismic data. We wanted a team of explorationists who were familiar with the area, just like in Malaysia. We thought it would be a good idea to only focus on certain places where we are very familiar with the data. It’s all about data processing plus some luck in terms of exploration success.
“It will be a place where, hopefully, we will be a real significant player in years to come. These are all exploration blocks. It will be many more years before first oil. I’m thinking post-2025 when we get first oil. It’s still a long way. We’re very excited about the prospects in years to come.”
On the popularity of nasi lemak from Petronas
“We always reserve a certain percentage of our floor space for local entrepreneurs in the vicinity to put their products. But it comes with some risks if the quality is not up to standard. We need to make sure the suppliers are good. People think it is a simple business, but actually it’s not.”
“Last year, we issued the Petronas Activity Outlook. This is something Petronas has never done before, telling others what our plans are for the next three years. I believe we should be transparent. It is a rolling forecast, and we will do it every year.
“We are open: this is how many rigs, vessels we would need, what kind of turnaround, contracts, etc. So, the service providers can plan for it. They may not like the information that’s given to them, but that’s the reality and everybody has to do what’s best — whether they want to expand, downsize or consolidate.”
On venturing into speciality
“After we finish Pengerang, then the next wave should continue further downstream, more value adding. For example in Gebeng, we are producing speciality chemicals and perfume ingredients. Those are the kind of things that we would like to go into, those with high value.
“We’re looking at opportunities to do absorbant materials for diapers. That’s why I’m bullish (about the Petronas Chemical business). Look at the China market, imagine how many diapers they need, both for babies and the older folk.”