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,The Petronas Twin Towers illuminate the Kuala Lumpur skyline. MIDF Research says the doubling of the petroleum giant's capital expenditure paints a picture of much promise for *** aller companies too. — AP

KUALA LUMPUR: The oil and gas (O&G) industry can look forward to a rosier future in the short-term, with *** aller companies too reaping the benefits of Petroliam Nasional Berhad (Petronas) doubling its capital expenditure (capex) to RM60bil this year.

MIDF Research said Petronas’ capex painted a picture of brighter prospects for the O&G industry, which should reflect well on *** aller companies operating in construction, shipping and technical services – the core sector. “In addition to the doubling of the yearly capex, we continue to view the O&G sector in a positive vein, as we expect the impact of the Russian sanctions on crude oil price volatility and the operations of our local oil and gas companies to remain in play,” said the research firm, following the recent MIDF Conversation virtual event with Petronas’ chief financial officer Liza Mustapha.

It was here that she shared an insight of the corporation’s future operations in parallel to the currently volatile crude oil prices.

Last year, Petronas set a capex of RM30bil – the lowest in 10 years, due to the rationalisation of oil prices and the Covid-19 pandemic that impacted affordability from delayed and deferred projects.

“This capex will be used to catch up on existing and new operations. The group also trusts that with the new capex, it will be the right time to step into the non-hydrocarbon business option.

“It is expected that RM40bil will be used for operations with carbonisation impact factored in, while the balance will be used for growth,” said MIDF Research.

However, the research house noted that demand for crude oil and natural gas globally would continue to grow, inspite of the recovery from the pandemic. As such, MIDF Research remains cautious on the impact of inflation on prices of Petronas’ retail sector.

“As of writing, the price for industrial gas has been nearing parity with global prices. Additionally, the risk of fuel subsidiaries being abolished in the current political climate, also plays a part in securing continuous demand despite the inflation risk,” it said.

A key challenge to Petronas’ operation, according to the research house, is the meeting of its sustainability expectations in time.

MIDF Research expects the price of benchmark Brent crude oil to average between US$110 (RM486) to US$116 (RM512) per barrel this year.

It said this range of Brent would cater for the volatility of the market over the Russian sanctions, rising inflation and shipping rates, as well as supply chain disruption, which could be offset by the possibility of rising production and supply output towards the end of this year.

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