Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Petronas keen to drill for gas in Natuna block

source: nst (By Kamarul Yunus and Zaidi Isham Ismail bt@nstp.com.my)
PETROLIAM Nasional Bhd (Petronas), which expects its investment in Santos Ltd's liquefied natural gas (LNG) project in Gladstone in Queensland to start generating revenue by 2014, has expressed interest to drill for gas in Indonesia's Natuna S-Alpha offshore block.
"It is no secret that we are interested ... but it is too early (to say how much stake in the project that Petronas is eyeing)," said its president and chief executive officer Tan Sri Mohd Hassan Marican.
Petronas' interest in the Natuna block comes barely a month after it agreed to splash US$2.5 billion (RM8.2 billion) to buy 40 per cent stake in Santos' LNG project.
Speaking to newsmen after the opening of the 13th Asia Oil and Gas conference in Kuala Lumpur yesterday, Hassan said investing in the Gladstone LNG project provides a fresh opportunity to invest in a relatively new field that uses coal seam gas (CGS) as a feedstock.
Citing cost factors, the Petronas chief said a decision has not been made on its investment in Iran, though it will defer plans to invest in a Sudan oil refinery.
Petronas, the world's third largest LNG producer, has a 10 per cent stake in Iran's PARS LNG project, which is led by French energy firm Total, while in Sudan it was supposed to build a 100,000-barrel per day oil refinery at Port Sudan.
On May 27, Reuters, citing Sudanese state oil firm Sudapet, reported the cost of the project had gone up to an estimated US$5 billion (RM16.3 billion), up from original estimates of between US$1 billion and US$2 billion (RM3.26 billion and RM6.52 billion).

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