Back from a great trip through Asia. Where one oil and gas contact told me how profits are surging — with Spanish major Repsol recently concluding that natural gas projects in Indonesia are the most profitable segment of the company’s global operations.
And opportunities in Asian natural gas are starting to come at a quicker pace. With the current market downturn bringing some prime projects in the region up for sale — including a major asset sale announced this week from one of Southeast Asia’s biggest E&Ps.
That’s Malaysian state oil firm Petronas. Which Reuters reported yesterday is considering an unprecedented sale of a crown-jewel project.
The news service cited familiar sources as saying that Petronas is now in marketing to sell part of the SK316 offshore natgas block in Malaysian waters. Which includes the producing NC3 gas field, as well as the development-stage Kasawari field — and additional exploration acreage.
These are significant assets, with the producing NC3 field originally having a discovered reserve of 2.6 trillion cubic feet. And the Kasawari field holding another 3 trillion cubic feet of future output.
That’s a lot of gas in the middle of one of the world’s best markets. Fields like this have made Petronas a major oil and gas powerhouse — to the point where the company has never conducted a major asset sale during its modern history. Related: This Oil Nation Aims To Colonize Mars
But the current downturn is reportedly hitting Petronas hard — coupled with expensive overseas expansions over the last several years, into places like the LNG sector of western Canada.
The resulting financial issues are forcing Petronas to sell. Opening up critical Malaysian natgas acreage, and representing an unparalleled opportunity for incoming buyers.
The deal won’t be cheap, with Petronas reportedly asking $1 billion for a 49 percent stake in the SK316 project. Watch for details on potential buyers, with Thailand’s PTTEP and Indonesia’s Pertamina having been mentioned as candidates.
Here’s to opening up the vault.
By Dave Forest
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