S&P said Petronas’ solid record of maintaining a strong balance sheet, and the company's status as a dominant hydrocarbon producer in Asia tempers the incremental industry risk. KUALA LUMPUR: S&P Global Ratings has raised the industry risk for the oil and gas (O&) companies in the exploration and production (E&P) business to moderately high risk from intermediate risk on greater shift towards renewable energy. It said on Monday increasing adoption and transition of renewable energy alternatives to address climate change could affect the supply and demand for O&G, and therefore producers of fossil fuel. “While we believe oil and gas will have a place in the global energy industry, the encroachment of market share by renewable energy will have broad implications for hydrocarbon demand, prices, and producers. “As a result, we believe the risk of disinvestment and reduced capital market access may increase for companies in this sector, ” it said. In its rating announcement on Petroliam Nasional Bhd, S&P said Petronas’ solid record of maintaining a strong balance sheet, and the company's status as a dominant hydrocarbon producer in Asia tempers the incremental industry risk. “We continue to assess the company's stand-alone credit profile (SACP) as 'aa', ” it said and affirmed its 'A' local currency and 'A-' foreign currency long-term issuer credit ratings on Petronas. It also affirmed its 'A-' foreign currency issue ratings on the notes and sukuk trust certificates the company has issued or guaranteed. In affirming its ratings on Petronas, S&P cited the relationship with the government was likely to remain intact. “In our opinion, the company will remain of critical importance to the government of Malaysia and will maintain a close relationship with its sole owner. “Petronas plays a critical role for the government as the sole owner of the rights to all of the country's oil and gas resources. “That status makes Petronas' role crucial for use of domestic resources; the company's hydrocarbon production accounted for close to 80% of the country's total production in 2019, ” it said. S&P said Petronas’ 'aa' SACP reflected its view that the company's dominant position in Malaysia can offset its weakened business prospects. “We believe the change in E&P industry conditions has weakened Petronas' position relative to major global peers with similar business risks. This is mainly due to Petronas' smaller size and reserve life. “For example, the total proven (P1) oil and gas reserves of China National Petroleum Corp. and Exxon Mobil were 20 billion and 22 billion barrels of oil equivalent (boe), respectively, as of end-2019, considerably larger than Petronas 5.9 billion boe. “Nevertheless, we believe the incremental business risk for Petronas can be tempered by the company's relative business strength as the sole and dominant operator of hydrocarbon assets in Malaysia. “Petronas' status as a national oil company should help it to better withstand the energy transition. The company has a large asset base, exclusive rights and privilege for hydrocarbon operations in Malaysia, sizable production entitlements, and good record of highly profitable and resilient operations. “In our opinion, Petronas' capacity to maintain its very conservative financial standing will be critical for its 'aa' SACP, given its weakened business position. That said, the company has a solid record of well-kept financial policy with a sizable cash buffer under its balance sheet, ” the rating agency said.
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