Malaysian national oil company Petronas will maintain its crude and gas production operations alongside its refineries as these are considered “essential services” under the government-imposed Movement Control Order to contain the spread of Covid-19.

Petronas said Tuesday that oil and gas production, refining, storage, supply and the distribution of fuel and lubricants are all considered essential services.

“Therefore, all operations falling within the above essential services including all support services, should continue,” Petronas said in a statement.

However, the exact nature of the operations will depend on the respective parties’ necessary working arrangements and precautions as may be appropriate, until advised otherwise by the government, it added.

“Asia’s national oil companies are the region’s largest producers and how they adapt to lower oil prices will have repercussions beyond volumes,” said Wood Mackenzie Asia Pacific vice chair, Gavin Thompson.

“Governments rely on these companies for tax revenues, employment and energy import decisions. How the NOCs react to this crisis will determine the regional outlook for the oil and gas sector for years to come.”

Petronas issued the statement following the 18 to 31 March movement control order announced Monday by Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin, which includes the closure of all non-essential business and services.