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SINGAPORE: Petroliam Nasional Bhd (Petronas) hopes to restart its Pengerang refinery-petrochemical complex, a joint venture with Saudi Aramco, by year end, Datuk Arif Mahmood, Petronas’ executive vice president and CEO of downstream, said at the Platts APPEC 2021 conference.

The 300,000 barrel-per-day refinery complex in Johor was shut in March 2020 following a deadly fire. The Malaysian state energy firm in February delayed the restart of the complex to the second half of 2021 from the first.

“When it comes to refining, petroleum products, we remain cautious,“ he said, adding that travel curbs continue to weigh on aviation fuel demand recovery as economies are still gradually opening up from the Covid-19 pandemic.

“We’ll see recovery hopefully towards the end of this year, early next year.”

Besides grappling with the hit to demand due to the pandemic over the past two years, the refining sector is in oversupply and faces challenges from energy transition as vehicles switch from being powered by fossil fuels to electricity.

“There’s oversupply of refining capacity,“ Arif said, adding that Petronas is operating its other refineries at 70% to 75% of their capacities. – Reuters

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