Petronas president and group chief executive officer Tan Sri Wan Zulkiflee Wan Ariffin says the company considers to invest in renewable energy such as solar, wind and biomass at a commercial scale. NST picture by Salhani Ibrahim.

KUALA LUMPUR: Petroliam Nasional Bhd (Petronas) is considering investing in renewable energy such as solar, wind and biomass at a commercial scale, its top executive said.

Petronas president and group chief executive officer Tan Sri Wan Zulkiflee Wan Ariffin said this was in light of the demand for more sustainable energy sources.

Petronas’ new ventures will also support the Ministry of Energy Science Technology Environment and Climate’s initiatives to reduce carbon emission intensity by 45 per cent per gross domestic product per capita by 2030, while achieving a low-carbon economy status by 2050.

Wan Zulkiflee said Petronas had taken steps to explore new growth areas beyond conventional oil and gas, while still maintaining its core business with the continued dominance of oil and gas in the primary energy mix.

“Policymakers and energy players are expected to navigate the complexity of transitioning to a lower-carbon energy system that fosters inclusive economic growth and provides affordable and secure energy supply,” he said at the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) Malaysia Energy Roundtable here today.

Petronas is the latest oil and gas major to look into the renewables space.

Top oil companies including Royal Dutch Shell, BP and Total are investing more in cleaner energy sources such as solar and wind power and electric vehicle technology.

In April, Petronas reportedly completed the acquisition of Amplus Energy Solutions Pte Ltd, better known as M+.

Petronas entered into an agreement with I Squared Capital to acquire a 100 per cent interest in M+, a leading Singapore-based company with a portfolio of distributed, renewable energy assets in Asia.

Global renewable capacity excluding hydro, had soared from under 100,000 megawatts (MW) in 2000 to more than one million MW in 2017, according to International Renewable Energy Agency data.

Wan Zulkiflee said the energy transition would be driven by the energy landscape set against the backdrop of geopolitical uncertainties, growing environmental consciousness, rapid pace of technological innovation and the emergence of new consumer demands and expectations.

“For Malaysia, our energy system ranked positively compared to our regional neighbours. Malaysia’s energy security and affordability score are among the top 20 of the 115 countries surveyed in WEF’s Energy Transition Index (ETI) attributed to our high electrification rate, low usage of solid fuels, diverse fuel mix and high quality of electricity supply,” he added.

Petronas had embarked on numerous energy investments anchored to its three-pronged strategy to develop an energy mix that effectively balances the energy trilemma of security, affordability and sustainability of energy supply, he said.

“We have allocated RM30 billion for upstream activities this year. Half of it slated for domestic investments to ensure there will be no disruptions to energy supply,” Wan Zulkiflee said.

Menawhile, the Roundtable is part of the WEF’s Energy Programme in Asean and is an avenue for stakeholders from across the energy ecosystem in Malaysia to discuss the vision and steps in achieving energy transition.

The half-day event brought together policymakers, industry players, academia and WEF’s partners in the energy sphere to explore the acceleration of energy transition in Malaysia while also discussing the challenges faced by the various stakeholders.

Roberto Bocca, head of future of energy and materials from WEF, presented key insights from the ETI 2019 that benchmarked 115 countries’ performance of their energy systems and their readiness for energy transition from the dimensions of security and access, environmental sustainability, and economic development and growth.

Malaysia ranked 31st on the index, one of the highest among countries in Southeast Asia.

Energy, Science, Technology, Environment and Climate Change Minister Yeo Bee Yin spoke about policy priorities needed to improve environmental sustainability for the energy sector and highlighted Malaysia’s role in the global arena for climate change.

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