Malaysia’s Petronas logs lower LNG sales in 2023

Malaysian energy giant Petronas reported a drop in its 2023 liquefied natural gas (LNG) sales, while its profit decreased by 20.6 percent compared to the year before due to weaker prices.

The company’s LNG sales dropped by 3.9 percent to 32.90 million tonnes during January-December to 34.23 million tonnes in 2022.

Petronas said its gross LNG sales volume decreased by 1.33 million tonnes mainly due to lower plant production and lesser trading opportunities as compared to last financial year.

During the fourth quarter, LNG sales of 8.95 million tonnes were almost flat compared to 8.90 million tonnes in the same period in 2022.

403 Bintulu LNG cargoes

During 2023, Petronas delivered 403 LNG cargoes from the giant 30 mtpa Bintulu LNG export facility in Sarawak, down by two cargoes compared to 2022.

The firm also completed 6,322 virtual pipeline system (VPS) and LNG bunkering deliveries in Malaysia to remotely located customers and to the marine industry.

The Bintulu plant, which has shipped more than 12,000 LNG cargoes since it started operations back in 1983, consists of nine trains and supplies key demand centers such as Japan, South Korea, China, and Taiwan.

The LNG complex includes MLNG Satu, MLNG Dua, MLNG Tiga, and the most recent Train 9 which started commercial operations in 2017.

Floating LNG production units

Besides the onshore facilities, Petronas continues to expand its FLNG business and last year it awarded the engineering, procurement, construction, commissioning (EPCC) contract for the nearshore floating LNG project in Sabah.

Japan’s LNG engineer JGC and South Korea’s Samsung Heavy are building the third floating LNG producer for Petronas and the unit will have capacity of 2 mtpa. It is scheduled for completion in 2027.

Upon completion, the nearshore LNG plant will increase Petronas’ LNG production from floating LNG facilities from 2.7 mtpa to 4.7 mtpa.

Currently, Petronas operates two floating LNG facilities, namely the 1.2 mtpa PFLNG Satu, as well as the 1.5 mtpa PFLNG Dua, both located offshore Sabah.

Petronas said it had delivered 38 LNG cargoes from these two floating LNG producers during 2023, down by 5 cargoes compared to 2022.

Profit drops on lower prices

Petronas reported profit of 80.7 billion ringgit ($17.5 billion) in 2023, down 20.6 percnt from 101.6 billion ringgit in the year before, while its revenue dropped 7.7 percent to 343.6 billion ringgit from 372.2 billion ringgit.

Petronas said revenue dropped mainly due to lower average realized prices for all products in line with declining benchmark prices.

In the fourth quarter, profit dropped to 16.6 billion ringgit from 24.4 billion ringgit in 2022, while revenue decreased to 91.7 billion ringgit from 104.2 billion ringgit in 2022.

Petronas said the global economy enters 2024 on a “weak footing following softer than expected economic performance towards the end of 2023, leading to cautious spending and investments by businesses and consumers.”

“Amid these macroeconomic headwinds, the oil and gas markets face uncertainties due to slower global demand, while supply risks are heightened following increased geopolitical tension in the Middle East and Europe. At the same time, the energy industry is experiencing a shift towards cleaner solutions,” the firm said.

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