Petronas Says Demand Recovery Uncertain as 1Q Profit Doubles

Petronas’s first-quarter profit more than doubled on the back of recovering commodity prices, but the Malaysian state oil firm cautioned demand prospects hinged on vaccines preventing a resurgence of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Petronas said on Monday it made a post-tax profit of 9.3 billion ringgit ($2.25 billion) in January-March, against 4.5 billion ringgit in the same quarter last year, also attributed to lower overall costs.

Revenue fell 12% to 52.5 billion ringgit due to lower sales volume of petroleum products, liquefied natural gas (LNG) and natural gas.

The world’s fourth-biggest LNG exporter said its capital investments amounted to 6.7 billion ringgit.

“Oil and gas industry demand is expected to improve following the global vaccine rollout program but recovery prospects remain uncertain due to risk of COVID-19 resurgence,” the firm said in a statement.

Petronas, the sole manager of Malaysia’s energy reserves, said it would continue to diversify its portfolio, including in non-fuel and specialty chemicals businesses.

It added its downstream business, Petronas Dagangan, launched earlier this year, a platform that sells farm produce directly to consumers via its petrol stations.

($1 = 4.1250 ringgit)

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