Malaysia's Petronas Q4 profits jump 45 pct on output boost


KUALA LUMPUR, March 4 (Reuters) - Malaysian state oil firmPetroliam Nasional (Petronas) posted a 45.4 percentjump in fourth-quarter profit, as exploration efforts at homeand abroad paid off with a boost in output.

The stronger Petronas earnings came even as weak refiningmargins and high capital costs in finding new reserves hitfourth-quarter profits of oil majors such as BP and ExxonMobil.

Petronas's net profit in the October to December periodsurged to 12.8 billion ringgit ($3.90 billion) from 8.8 billionringgit a year ago, Petronas said, supported by higher sellingprices of liquefied natural gas and a stronger U.S. dollar.

In recent years, Petronas has invested heavily in Canadianshale assets, Iraqi oil fields and explored for new reserves inMalaysia as part of its five-year 300 billion ringgit capexprogramme that ends in 2015.

Petronas, which finances more than a third of Malaysia'sgovernment budget via dividends, said full-year net profitclimbed 10.3 percent 65.6 billion ringgit from 59.5 billionringgit.

"Let's not talk about oil prices, let's talk about thestrong production. We put in place our KPIs to boost productiona few years ago and we delivered," Petronas President and CEOShamsul Azhar Abbas told reporters at the firm's Kuala Lumpurheadquarters on Tuesday.

The Fortune 500 company's total domestic and internationalproduction in 2013 rose 5.8 percent to 2.1 million barrels ofoil equivalent per day (boepd) from 2 million boepd, thanks tonew supply streams.

In the final quarter of 2013, production was up 6.3 percentto 2.2 million boepd from 2.1 million boepd, Petronas said.($1 = 3.2825 Malaysian ringgits) (Reporting by Niluksi Koswanage; Editing by MuralikumarAnantharaman)

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