Petronas seek Norwegian subsea technology

The Malaysian state oil company Petronas is about to plunge into deep water, and is more than willing to get in touch with Norwegian subsea contractors. Small companies with new technology can hope to get a significant portion of the market in their niches.

Published: 4 May 2007

This was the main message from Tuan Hai Ewe, head of Innovation Norway's Kuala Lumpur office, in a meeting with the industry in the Bergen area recently.

Technology for searching and extracting petroleum resources on deep and ultra deep water currently preoccupies Petrona's management the most. Experience from equivalent projects in the North Sea can be worth a fortune for Norwegian subsea contractors willing to make an effort in the regional oil capital of Southeast Asia. Establishing a business in Kuala Lumpur could serve as a leaping board to other countries in the region, such as India, Thailand, Indonesia and Vietnam.
Fierce competition
Running, modification and maintenance of existing plants is expected to represent the best of the total 35 billion US dollar investment in 2007-2010. Drilling operations will also represent a large part of the budget.
- Small companies with new technology and focus on research and development are of great interest to Petronas. Those who succeed can hope to get a large portion of the market in their niches, said Ewe.
- Just remember that this is a country with fierce competition, Ewe warned.
Seismics and CO2
Seismics and handling CO2 are very interesting technologies in a Malaysian context, said Ewe. The gas brought up from the Malaysian continental shelf is very rich in CO2. The authorities are currently looking into relevant efforts to meet international regulations on gas distribution. Norwegian experience with CO2-injection is thus very relevant to Malaysian conditions, he stressed.
Marginal field development, and increased extraction from mature fields, compared to the current 30 per cent, is number two on Petronas' wish list.
Petronas has the right of disposition of all oil and gas resources on the Malaysian continental shelf. Foreign companies will have to apply for qualification from the state oil company. They will also have to make cooperative agreements with local companies before they can hope to sign agreements.
- The local references are important, stated Suzanne Hodgson, subsea sales manager in Roxar. The Norwegian technology supplier has been present in Kuala Lumpur for several years, and has currently some 50 employees in the country.

Annual investments of 25 billion
The undiscovered petroleum reserves on the Malaysian continental shelf are estimated to 10 billon boe. All of 65 per cent of the oil lies on deep or ultra-deep water. More than 40 per cent of the gas exists on greater ocean depths.
Nine fields, on ocean depths of 500 and 1500 metres, are on the verge of being explored in the coming years. Some 50 search wells are to be drilled. Annual investments in charting and searching are expected to amount to approximately 25 billion Norwegian kroner.
The discovered oil reserves approximates to 5,25 billion barrels, of which more than a quarter lies at deep water. Gas resources make 30 trillion sm3, where most of it is expected to be found on shallower ocean depths.
English text by Trude Sletteland