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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs        3  June 2011

Petronas buys Canadian shale gas assets

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Petroliam Nasional Bhd (Petronas), via its wholly-owned subsidiary Petronas International Corp Ltd (PICL), has signed an agreement with Canada-based Progress Energy Resources Corp to acquire 50 percent of the latter's interest in shale gas assets worth C$1.07bil (RM3.32bil).

In a statement yesterday, Petronas said the agreement was signed to develop the Altares, Lily and Kahta shale gas assets in north-eastern British Columbia.

“The assets included in the transaction cover approximately 150,000 gross working-interest acres of land with an estimated contingent gas resource of more than 15 trillion cu ft. The assets will be operated by Progress,” said Petronas.

It said the proposed acquisition would mark Petronas' maiden entry into Canada and would allow for accelerated upstream growth that could potentially advance a liquefied natural gas (LNG) export value proposition in that country.

“Petronas views the acquisition as a highly attractive opportunity, paving its entry into the North American shale gas industry while at the same time further strengthening its position as a leading global LNG player.”

As part of the acquisition, Petronas and Progress have agreed to establish an LNG export joint venture to conduct a feasibility study on the economic viability of an integrated LNG export facility in western Canada.

“This could provide a strategic alternative to the traditional North American pipeline gas market,” Petronas said.

The two companies have also agreed to collaborate on other potential natural gas opportunities in western Canada.

“The transaction is conditional upon relevant regulatory approvals and Petronas expects the transaction to close in the third quarter of 2011.”

Bank of America Merrill Lynch is the exclusive financial advisor to Petronas on this transaction.

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It is commonplace in journalism to write two types of articles at the transition point between the year that has passed and the New Year. As this writer qualifies as an “old hand” in observing Thailand with a track record dating back 14 years, it is time take a shot at what may unfold in Thailand in 2011.

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