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UMW Oil & Gas looking to Mid-East to buffer against downturn in Asian markets

UMW Oil & Gas looking to Mid-East to buffer against downturn in Asian markets
UMW Oil & Gas (UMWOG) hopes to secure new jobs from the promising Middle East markets to sustain its growth although it has yet to secure a contract there so far, local reports said.

UMWOG president Rohaizad Darus said the company was bidding for 23 contracts worth a combined $1.05bn in Malaysia and other countries, including OPEC member countries. “OPEC is dominated by Middle Eastern countries and they have made it very clear that they are not going to cut production even if the oil price drops to $10 per barrel,” he was quoted as saying.

“The Asia-Pacific region is no doubt a good market during non-crisis period, but it is not the biggest producer in the world. In order to get sufficient jobs, you must target where the biggest demand is, which is the Middle East,” he said.

Rohaizad said UMWOG had widened its safety net prior to the downturn by actively exploring overseas markets rather than depending on a single market or client in Malaysia and now operates in seven countries, including China, Vietnam, Myanmar, the Philippines, Thailand and Turkmenistan. Middle Eastern countries had reiterated their stand to maintain output.

“Saudi Arabia produced about 9.4m barrels per day in April, which is relatively high. This has influenced other Middle Eastern countries to follow suit, resulting in more activity in the O&G fields.

“While you cannot make up for the reduction of activity in this region, at least we can hope for some buffer so that the fall will not be too painful,” said Rohaizad.

UMWOG has eight offshore drilling rigs, mainly jack-up, including the recently-acquired Naga 8. Its current order book stands at MYR1.4bn ($330.6m), including four long-term drilling contracts.