Petronas talks possible re-entering Uzbek oil & gas sector (Exclusive)

Baku, Azerbaijan, Oct. 2

By Fikret Dolukhanov – Trend:

Malaysia’s national oil and gas company Petronas doesn’t rule out possibility of re-entering Uzbekistan and is in constant search for new opportunities, the company representative told Trend on Oct. 2.

In mid-September 2018 the Malaysian national information agency Berita Nasional Malaysia (BERNAMA) published an article about bilateral relations with Uzbekistan. Author of the article underlined that the relations can be expanded through increased trade, economic and investment cooperation, including through resumption of the presence of Petronas in the oil and gas sector of Uzbekistan.

According to the article, based on the current political and economic spheres in both countries, it was imperative that Petronas re-established its footprint in Uzbekistan after significant reforms were adopted by the two-year-old government of Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoyev.

The company representative said that Petronas is always open for new partnerships. He, however, didn’t comment on whether Petronas is currently holding any negotiations with Uzbekistan’s oil and gas company Uzbekneftegaz.

“Petronas regularly reviews its business portfolio group-wide and is always open to partnerships that can bring value and more opportunities that fit our business requirements,” the rep said.

The Malaysian company previously participated in implementation of a number of projects in the oil and gas sector of Uzbekistan. In 2008, Petronas and Uzbekneftegaz signed an agreement on the Surkhan investment block in the Surkhandarya region.

In 2010, the government of Uzbekistan and Petronas signed a production sharing agreement (PSA) to develop oil and gas fields of the Boysun investment block for a period of 35 years.

However, as early as May 2011, Petronas withdrew from the international consortium for exploration and development in the Uzbek part of the Aral Sea in the framework of the PSA, and in June 2011 reduced its share from 33.3 percent to 11 percent in the construction of a plant for production of synthetic fuel in the south of Uzbekistan.

In April 2013, Petronas ceased exploration work on the investment block in the Surkhandarya region in the south of Uzbekistan due to optimization of business in the republic. In May 2014 the company withdrew from two PSAs in Uzbekistan - Baysun investment block and Ustyurt.

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Follow the author on Twitter: @FDolukhanov

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