Malaysian Prime Minister Opens First OTC Asia

By John Donnelly 26 Mar 2014

Malaysia’s Prime Minster, the Hon. Dato’ Sri Mohd Najib Tun Haji Abdul Razak, officially opened the first OTC Asia on Tuesday afternoon, citing in his keynote address the importance of the region in future global energy activity. He was joined in the opening ceremony by YBhg Tan Sri Dato’ Shamsul Azhar Abbas, chairman of the OTC Asia Advisory Committee and Group Chief Executive Officer of Petronas, and Edward Stokes of ConocoPhillips, Chairman of the OTC Board of Directors.

Each of the three opening speakers acknowledged the recent disappearance of Flight MH370, which officials now believe crashed into the Indian Ocean, and offered their respect and condolences to the passengers and families of those involved. A moment of silence also was held before the beginning of the opening ceremony.

The prime minister noted the increasing importance of Asia on the international energy landscape. “These are exciting times for the Asian oil and gas industry, and that is why it is apt that the first OTC Asia is being held in Malaysia,” he said.

“Asia is a continent with a voracious appetite for energy,” he said, noting the region’s projected 2.5% annual growth in consumption and the fact that Asia will account for more than 60% of total global energy demand in 2030.

The region’s rising consumption is not being met as local hydrocarbon supplies are in decline and some countries that once were exporters of energy are now importers. “The easy oil is indeed gone,” presenting challenges, but also opportunities, for the oil and gas industry, the prime minister said.

“We are embarking on a new era of innovation” to help unlock new resources in hard-to-reach places, he said. “We are going further and deeper both literally and with the technology we use.”

Malaysia has “the perfect mix of ingredients to be a regional energy hub,” the prime minister said, citing the country’s location, resources, technical capability, world-class infrastructure, and legislative framework, which is business friendly. He noted the success of risk-service contracts that were introduced in 2011 and the growth the past two years in Malaysian domestic hydrocarbons output. “This success is no accident,” he added.

The prime minister congratulated Petronas, which is celebrating its 40th birthday this year, for its achievements over the past four decades, “which have been extraordinary.” Petronas is the most profitable company in Asia and has become a true international layer on the oil and gas world stage, he added.

Shamsul Azhar Abbas, the president and group CEO of Petronas, outlined the aggressive E&P strategy the company has undertaken over the past four years to unlock new resources and increase domestic production. Especially important have been enhanced oil recovery (EOR) initiatives offshore, including its first large-scale project to boost production from the Tapis oilfield by up to 35,000 b/d. The project is using water-alternating-gas injection to increase ultimate recovery. This technology, if successful, could be applied at other fields, he said.

Another initiative is to encourage new investment in smaller and marginal fields that were deemed uncommercial just a few years ago. A third measure involves offshore work in the Sabah area. Petronas and Shell announced the discovery of the Limbayong well in the area on 17 March.

Fourthly, Petronas has expanded its R&D activity with the opening of Asia’s first state-of-the-art visualization center and increased training measures. “We will continue to push the boundaries to unlock new resources,” he said.

In his remarks, Stokes, chairman of the OTC Board, noted that after more than 40 years of successful conferences in Houston, the Offshore Technology Conference recently began to expand its presence internationally, with new conferences highlighting the Arctic, Brazil, and now Asia. OTC promotes new ideas, innovation, networking, and industry best practices, he said.

Given Asia’s growing importance in global energy, it is fitting that the first OTC Asia would be held in Malaysia, Stokes said, adding that Petronas, the event’s corporate supporting organization, “has been an ideal partner.”

John Donnelly is the editor of the Journal of Petroleum Technology.