Petronas posts higher profit and sticks to Rapid project timeline

Petronas is in the final stages of finishing the Refinery and Petrochemical Integrated Development (Rapid), a 50-50 partnership with Saudi Arabia’s state-owned Saudi Aramco. (Bernama pic)

KUALA LUMPUR: Petronas said today work at its US$27 billion (RM112 billion) refinery and petrochemical project in Johor had slowed due to an explosion last month, but stuck to its timeline of resuming operations by the year-end.

The company also posted today a 9% jump in quarterly profit and warned of a challenging year ahead given volatility in oil prices.

Petronas is in the final stages of finishing the Refinery and Petrochemical Integrated Development (Rapid), a 50-50 partnership with Saudi Arabia’s state-owned Saudi Aramco.

An explosion and fire occurred at the plant’s atmospheric residue desulphurisation unit in April. The fire was contained within 30 minutes.

“Work will be continued towards achieving planned commercial operation date in the fourth quarter, although not at full capacity,” the company said in a statement.

Investigations on the incident are still ongoing, Petronas said.

First-quarter profit at Petronas, which is a key contributor to state coffers, rose to RM14.2 billion from RM13 billion.

Company’s revenue rose 7% to RM62 billion.

Total production volume for the quarter dropped 1.3% to 2.4 million barrels of oil equivalent (boe) per day due to lower crude production from Iraq. Sales of liquefied natural gas rose 6.7% to 8.45 million tonnes.

“The board expects the overall year-end performance of Petronas to be affected by the rising volatility of oil prices and foreign exchange movements,” the company said.

The oil and gas industry will continue to operate in a challenging environment arising from market uncertainties and geopolitical risks, it said.

Last month, Petronas acquired a Singapore-based solar energy company as part of a strategy to move into renewable energy and chase high-growth business to complement its mainstay operations.