Petronas Net Falls, Forecasts Little Changed Full-Year Profit

Petroliam Nasional Bhd., Malaysia’s state oil company, said first-quarter profit declined 2.7 percent and full-year earnings will probably be little changed from the previous 12 months.

Net income fell to 20.37 billion ringgit ($6.6 billion) in the three months ended March 31 from 20.94 billion ringgit a year earlier, the company known as Petronas said in a statement in Kuala Lumpur, where it is based. Revenue rose 1.9 percent to 76.68 billion ringgit.

“We expect earnings this year to be almost the same number as in 2012,” Chief Executive Officer Shamsul Azhar Abbas told reporters today in Kuala Lumpur.

Oil futures in New York averaged 8.4 percent lower at $94.36 in the first quarter, compared with $103.03 a year earlier, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Crude oil closed yesterday 4.7 percent below this year’s highest settlement of $97.94 a barrel. Prices will probably range from $95 to $100 per barrel by the end of this year, Shamsul said.

“Global economic uncertainties are expected to lead to continued volatility in oil prices and global oil demand, which may affect Petronas Group’s performance,” the company said today in a statement.

Brazil Blocks

Petronas agreed last month to buy a 40 percent stake in two blocks in the offshore Tubarao Martelo field, located in the Campos Basin, from Brazilian oil producer OGX Petroleo e Gas Participacoes SA. The $850 million acquisition marked its first entry into exploration and production in the South American nation and followed a C$5.2 billion ($5 billion) deal last year to take over Canada’s Progress Energy Resources Corp.

In June 2011, Petronas announced plans to spend a record 300 billion ringgit over five years to replenish Malaysia’s maturing reserves and counter mounting exploration costs. It has stepped up offshore drilling with local and overseas partners, including Petrofac Ltd.

Petronas will consider acquisitions in Africa as it’s always on the lookout for opportunities, Shamsul said.

Malaysia, Southeast Asia’s biggest oil and gas producer after Indonesia, saw total production for the quarter rise to 2.16 million barrels of oil equivalent a day from 2.11 million a day a year earlier, Petronas said.

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