Bacho Pilong

KUCHING: The local oil and gas industry will recover from the economic downturn due to the Covid-19 pandemic, an optimism shared by a Petronas Carigali Sdn Bhd top man.

Bacho Pilong said based on past experiences, the industry would remain resilient and continue to thrive.

“One thing about the oil and gas industry, based on my personal experience, there are many ups and downs. In 1990s and in 2008, the industry was quite resilient. It tends to reinvent itself and recover faster than expected,” the chief executive officer said in a webinar hosted by Universiti Malaysia Sarawak (Unimas) on Wednesday.

Bacho, who oversaw oil and gas exploration operations in Miri from 2006 until 2009, said the company was blessed in that operations at the Baram oil field were going strong.

He stressed that it was important that the company continued to invest in Miri to prolong the lives of the oil fields, adding that while there might be differing opinions due to the volatility of oil prices, it was important to invest sensibly and get a decent return on investment.

“For every investment, we must meet a certain threshold in terms of the criteria, so portfolio optimisation is something that we do frequently to ensure we invest proficiently as we have shareholders that we have to give a decent dividend to year in and year out.

“We are with the government of Malaysia and we want to make sure whatever investment we make will benefit the people of Malaysia,” he said.

Bacho also said that with Covid-19, key decisions were being made remotely and a study of the operational process was needed as well as defining a new way of working.

“We need to exploit and use digital tools and I am quite glad, even now, I can visit the offshore (platform) virtually, I can have calls with the people on the front lines.

“The way we will work will change just as the way education is delivered will change. One thing we observed is that the workforce in the future will be different from the one we know now,” he said.