OPINION: Malaysia’s national energy giant Petronas is forging ahead with its third floating liquefied natural gas project — again on its home patch — and it will be interesting to see whether the company will increase the tally.

Petronas is on track to take the final investment decision before the end of the year on its nearshore ZLNG project in Sabah, East Malaysia and, in tandem, award the prized engineering, procurement, construction and commissioning contract to the winning partnership of the ongoing dual front-end engineering and design competition.

The newbuild ZLNG, which is targeting completion by late 2026, will join Petronas’ PFLNG Satu (one) and PFLNG Dua (two), which are already in operation in Malaysian waters.

Blazing a trial

Petronas has blazed a trail in FLNG — including landmarks such as bringing the world’s first such unit on stream and then moving it successfully to another gas field.

And the company had ambitious plans not only to potentially deploy FLNG vessels on some of its overseas assets, but it has also been considering investing its expertise and experience to operate them for third parties.

However, these earlier plans could well be scaled back or even off the table.

Bloomberg this week reported that Petronas has invited bids for its exploration and production assets in Africa which include Gabon. The company had earlier signalled that its Boudji discovery offshore Gabon was under consideration for the next FLNG project.

FLNG was also at least a contender to exploit Petronas’ Kelidang Cluster offshore Brunei, but only time will tell whether that comes to pass.

(This is an Upstream opinion article.)