Malaysia attracts more oil and gas investment as Petronas hosts stellar exploration round

Malaysia’s 2022 oil and gas bid round was a remarkable success, attracting fresh investment, new upstream explorers, as well as new ideas to the mix in Southeast Asia’s most successful market. Indeed, other Southeast Asian countries should take note as Malaysia also launched its 2023 round that will see more investors queuing up.

Malaysia Bid Round (MBR) 2023 was launched last Wednesday, the same day that new acreage was officially awarded from MBR 2022.

Nine out of 14 exploration blocks were successfully awarded, as well as three Discovered Resources Opportunities (DROs), making the round a success, Robert Chambers, APAC-focused upstream expert, told Energy Voice.

The results marked the highest number of PSCs awarded in Malaysia within a single year since 2010. Industry analysts agreed it was a strong outcome in a world increasingly focused on transitioning away from exploration for new oil and gas.

“Overall, Malaysia continues to offer exploration acreage in mature and proven areas, where exploration success would see discoveries that could be developed through existing infrastructure and potential access to global LNG markets through the Malaysia LNG (MLNG) complex,” said Chambers.

“Malaysia Petroleum Management (MPM), which manages the rounds, have done a great job by understanding their relative position and creating competitive fiscal terms for some of the specific opportunities. They have also run a consistent and reliable bid round process. There is a lot for other countries in Asia to learn from,” he added.

Andrew Harwood, Asia Pacific research director at Wood Mackenzie, noted that Malaysia’s state-backed upstream energy company Petronas Carigali dominated the round, winning an interest in every block awarded. However “we think Petronas’ regulatory arm Malaysia Petroleum Management (MPM) will be the most pleased with the awards,” Harwood told Energy Voice.