Malaysian firms told to venture into Kazakhstan

Kazakhstan plans to increase oil production by 0.9% in 2018

KUALA LUMPUR: Kazakhstan is inviting Malaysian oil and gas (O&G) players to tap opportunities in the country, which offers strong value proposition for partnerships.

Malaysia External Trade Development Corp (Matrade) chief executive officer Mohd Shahreen Madros said as most local players registered with Petroliam Nasional Bhd were qualified to venture overseas, Kazakhstan would be a good avenue to expand their presence.

“The economic scenario indicates that Malaysian O&G players should not rely solely on the local market.

“With the support of Matrade in 47 countries, we can help local players venture into new markets, Kazakhstan being one of them,” he told NST Business recently.

Being in Kazakhstan would enable Malaysian O&G players to compete in the global arena, which would strengthen Malaysia’s aim of becoming a O&G hub in the region by 2020.

“Gone are the days where the government drives everything. Today, businesses must be done in collaboration with other agencies to push beyond our borders.

“On the product side, we have a trade surplus of RM1.48 trillion but on the services side, we are still in the deficit and we need to be more aggressive.

“The O&G sector has matured and adopted international standards, so we feel there is huge opportunity for them to go abroad,” he added.

The softening of global oil prices also signals the need for local players to venture out and not rely on the local market.

Malaysia Petroleum Resources Corp (MPRC) executive director Yazid Jaafar said the Kazakhstan O&G sector presented huge opportunities as it was a maturing industry.

“We can export our expertise at a more competitive price and explore the market.

“Since 2014, we have had an understanding for a two-way business communication between the two countries,” said Yazid.

Malaysian Oil and Gas Services Council president Sharifah Zaida Nurlisha said Kazakhstan was among the world’s top 15 oil-producing countries.

It produces three per cent of the world’s oil and has 172 oilfields, with 80 still under development.

Kazakhstan’s oil production is forecast to grow to 81 million tonnes this year and 88 million in 2020.

“It is an appealing market. And MPRC and Matrade are available to help with studies on the market,” said Sharifah.

Currently, local players such as Reach Energy Bhd, Sumatec resources Bhd and Hadid Engineering Sdn Bhd have a presence in Kazakhstan.