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Petronas not in talks to sell assets to Russians
Published:  May 25, 2016 10:42 AM
Updated: 4:57 AM

Petronas has denied that it is holding talks with its Russian counterpart Zarubezhneft on the sale of the assets of the national oil and gas company.

In a brief statement to Malaysiakini today, Petronas said, “Petronas refers to a number of recent press reports originating from Russia on purported discussions for the disposal of specific Petronas ‘assets’ and ‘stake’.

“We wish to clarify that Petronas has not been, and is currently not, in discussions with any Russian party for the abovementioned purpose.”

The company was responding to a report by the Russian news agency Tass last Friday, which quoted Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak as saying that Zarubezhneft is interested in Petronas’ assets.

“Zarubezhneft shows interest in studying the assets of Petronas. The parties are holding consultations about it," Novak reportedly said.

“As for Zarubezhneft, it is studying opportunities to undertake projects in Malaysia.

“Zarubezhneft has a lot of experience to enhance the effectiveness of existing fields, and offers its services and participation,” Novak added.

According to him, Russia is also looking to increase its supply of oil and oil products to the Asia-Pacific region.

He is reported as saying this at the two-day Asean-Russia Commemorative Summit in Sochi on May 20, at which Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak was also present.

Petronas announced in March that it will cut about 1,000 jobs in Malaysia in a bid to cut costs amid a slump in crude oil prices.

Petronas reported a 60 percent drop in its pre-tax profit, of RM6.8 billion, for the quarter ending March 31, 2016, compared with the same quarter last year.