Petronas advocates use of natural gas to address megatrends

by BERNAMA/ pic by RAZAK GHAZALI

PETROLIAM Nasional Bhd (Petronas) has been a strong advocate on the use of natural gas in addressing emerging megatrends such as rapid urbanisation, diminishing resources and the rising need for energy.

President and CEO Tan Sri Wan Zulkiflee Wan Ariffin (picture) said in its scenario planning for the years up to 2040, the national oil company projected fossil fuel to remain as the main contributor to the energy mix for the next 20 to 30 years.

“We are a strong advocate for natural gas for the very simple reason that it is the cleanest fossil fuel,” he told Bernama in an interview recently.

He said Petronas’ strong advocacy for natural gas also boosted its role as the world’s third-biggest liquefied natural gas (LNG) supplier and the company is expected to remain among the top five in the future.

Wan Zulkiflee said the company’s LNG supply points are strategically located in Malaysia, Australia and Egypt, and the list will include Canada in 2024.

He said natural gas is also one of the answers to the sustainability issue — a big agenda in the industry — as it complements new energy sources such as solar power.

“The problem with solar energy is intermittency. Unless you have a very big storage, you cannot ensure a steady supply.

“So, we always believe in this complementary arrangement. If you have solar, you would also need gas. For instance, during the night or on rainy days, there will be more natural gas power generation,” he said.

Going forward, he said Petronas has ventured into the renewableenergy (RE) space, especially solar and wind power.

“For solar power, we have acquired Singapore-based Amplus Energy Solutions Pte Ltd, with assets in India in April this year,” he said.

Amplus Energy specialises in rooftop and ground-based solar power projects, with a cumulative capacity of over 500MW — some currently in operation, while others in the middle of development.

It has projects across India, the Middle East and South-East Asia.

“This is our first venture in solar energy outside of Malaysia. We believe in the long run, this business will grow in terms of RE,” he said.

As for the wind power business, he said Malaysia lacks the wind speed needed to generate energy, thus the area of business focus would have to be overseas.

“We have just created the business in April this year and are still exploring the opportunities,” he said.

Additionally, he said Petronas spearheaded the development of the Malaysian Future Energy Landscape 2050 White Paper for the government.

Wan Zulkiflee added that Petronas’ involvement in new energy gives it the platform to help shape Malaysia’s energy landscape in line with the government’s target of 20% electricity generation from RE sources by 2025.