ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation
PTT says it can survive an oil prices as low as US$20 a barrel.
The oil price dropped 2.4 per cent to $30.68 a barrel yesterday, after tumbling to a 12-year low on Monday.
More analysts, including investment bank Morgan Stanley, are now pointing out the possibility of the price plummeting to $20.
Tevin Vongvanich, president and chief executive officer of the national oil company, said yesterday that PTT had conducted a stress test and found it could survive at $30 a barrel.
He believes the energy conglomerate could also make it through a price of $20 a barrel for a year or two without having to seek additional funding or pull the plug on its oil production.
“Most of PTTEP’s [PTT Exploration and Production] petroleum fields in the Gulf of Thailand have a production cost of $30 a barrel. Their cash costs are $18. So at $20 a barrel, they can still continue their production,” he said.
Chief financial officer Wirat Uanarumit said PTTremained financially solid. Its problem lies in how to make better use of its ample liquidity, which has soared to Bt300 billion, after its cuts in investments and lowered capital requirements. Most of that is parked in short-term investments and cash.
“As a CFO, I might not be happy [to have so much liquidity]. But we hope there will be more deals for us to shop this year,” he said.
As a way to reduce its cash holdings, PTT would consider relaxing its dividend pay-out limit to return some extra money to its shareholders. It is also negotiating to prepay some loans and debentures.
PTT’s profits looked poorer last year because of the impairment charges that it took, while operating results and cash flow remained relatively strong. And the impairment charges will be much lower this year.
PTT could consider making additional investments but it is proceeding cautiously at this juncture, Tavin said.
“Today we are at a crossroads. With low oil prices, we have to consider if the investment returns [on new petroleum-related projects] will be worthwhile. But if we don’t invest, we will lose the chance to receive a return when oil prices stage a comeback,” he said.
Somporn Vongvuthipornchai, president and CEO of PTTEP, the hardest-hit subsidiary of PTT Group, said the company had set a target to reduce its production costs further to $38 a barrel this year from $40 at present.
While negotiating to postpone high-risk, high-return investment projects, the company expects to maintain its oil and gas production at about 330,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day this year.
Tevin said PTT would conclude its study by the end of this year of a plan to restructure its oil-refining and petrochemical units, which are now run by more than 10 separate companies.
Wirat said the objective “is to gain critical mass and efficiencies from the synergy derived from the integrated production of the units. They will also be allowed to be run by experts in their fields.”
During the first nine months of last year, PTT reported consolidated net profit of Bt19.75 billion, after an impairment provision of about Bt35 billion from its 65-per-cent owned subsidiary PTTEP, which booked impairment charges on its assets of nearly Bt50 billion.
PTT Group’s earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation dropped by only 8.8 per cent on year, despite Dubai crude’s dive of 47.8 per cent during the period.