ASHGABAT (Turkmenistan), Oct 28 — The Turkmenistan government wants to extend the production sharing contract (PSC) with Petroliam Nasional Bhd (Petronas) in the country to 2038, says Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
The Prime Minister said the wish was expressed by Turkmenistan President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov at a meeting between the two leaders on Sunday (Oct 27).
“I discussed the matter with the President (of Turkmenistan) and he welcomed the role of Petronas in Turkmenistan. He expressed his wish that Petronas should continue to be active here, and he mentioned a further 10-year extension,” he told Malaysian journalists at a press conference on Sunday night before ending his two-day official visit to Turkmenistan on Monday.
In 1996, Petronas was given a 32-year PSC until 2028 to produce natural gas in the Block 1 offshore area in the Caspian Sea.
Turkmenistan has the world’s fourth-largest underground reserves of natural gas after Russia, Iran and Qatar.
It has 20 trillion cubic meters of proven reserves of natural gas, although the total may be higher as natural gas deposits in the country have yet to be fully explored.
Commenting further, Dr Mahathir said the PSC extension shows the Turkmenistan government is satisfied with the role played by Petronas, and expressed confidence the country will consider giving more concessions to Malaysia’s national oil company.
He said in Turkmenistan, Petronas’ involvement is wholly in the production of oil and gas, compared to just 15 per cent in Azerbaijan.
Before his two-day visit to Turkmenistan, Dr Mahathir was in Azerbaijan to attend the 18th Summit of the Heads of State and Government of the Non-Aligned Movement in Baku.
The prime minister said in his meeting with Berdimuhamedov, the Turkmenistan president repeatedly expressed his wish that an exposition of Malaysian products is held in the country.
Dr Mahathir said Berdimuhamedov also expressed his opinion that cooperation in many areas between Malaysia and Turkmenistan could be enhanced.
“We have received a very good response, they are very friendly and I think we can have trade with them although their population is only five million, and there could be revenue from oil. They are rich, so it would be good for us to take part in trade with them.
“They also want to have shipbuilding here, and we have some knowledge of shipbuilding…we can check whether we can participate in shipbuilding here,” he said.
On Sunday, Dr Mahathir and Berdimuhamedov had a restricted meeting followed by a bilateral meeting and the signing of a collaboration agreement.
The Malaysian delegation included Foreign Minister Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah and Economic Affairs Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali.
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