26.12.08

hey, now it's rm1.80!

'Minyak hasil bumi datang dari Allah, sepatutnya dikongsi dengan rakyat'

The quote above if I am not mistaken came from a politically prominent person during the petrol price crisis in June. It means that oil, is earth's commodity that comes from Allah, and has to be shared with the Rakyat. Hmmm... Thinking I understand the person's naivety, but a person in his position, should certainly know better than merely making such a statement. No wonder ignorance is a bliss.

The most recent reduction of pump oil price to RM1.80 per liter came not exactly as a surprise to most of us. As of today (26/12/08), the crude oil price on the NYMEX is at $36.17 per barrel. Compare this to 6 months ago, the crude oil price reached $140-ish per barrel, and that time, the Government (yes, STILL the CURRENT Government) increased the pump price to RM2.70 per liter.

I remember when I first reported into Petronas, I think at exactly the 20th day there, the price went up to RM2.70. That was an increase of 78 cents compared to the previous RM1.92 per liter. The announcement from the already under-fire Government - they lost the 12th General Election convincingly - brought public outcry from all corners of the country.

Due to all these unfortunate circumstances, some parts of the Government were looking for an easy meat to become the scapegoat for all the furore caused - despite the fact that crude oil price around the world was on the up that time. As expected, sadly, Petronas was the answer. When the announcement on the petrol price increase was made, I received a number of phone calls, SMSes, emails, instant messages, from friends, relatives, asking the relevance of Petronas in the increase. Well, it's easier to accept the naivety of those not involved directly with Petronas. But when the criticism comes from the Government itself...hmmm...Sigh In our amazement, it was one current Permatang Pauh MP who came to the defence of Petronas at that time. There were also others, praise them.

I remember a certain 'KJ' was buzzing in the Parliament during one of his speeches, for Petronas to make public their Financial Year results. Our President rebutted by saying that the results are shown to Public every year. The fact that Petronas 'contributed' RM67.6 billion (more than its net profit = RM61 billion) from its last Financial Year's revenue to the Government's coffers from was not looked at with good heart it seemed.

Now that the price of crude oil have gone so low, no one seems to care about Petronas anymore. Recently, Tan Sri President remarked that Petronas is currently riding the Perfect Storm, as the situation is not going to be better next year. Our reserves are depleting, and new fields have to be explored, using the most expensive technology, thus increasing costs. One of the hardest hit businesses within Petronas is the Petro-Chemical business, in which some of the plants have reduced their production to a certain percentage or none at all, due to low demand. The outlook for 2009 isn't pretty at all.

Where are those who were so loud during the so called 'petrol crisis'? What has the Government done to show some concern towards Petronas? I remember reading from a newspaper, that our petrol price should be RM1.30, instead of RM1.90 at that point of writing. Hmmm...I wonder where Petronas will be with that kind of price. Maybe they should suggest that petrol is free for everybody, rather that putting a price to it. If really oil is 'hasil bumi dari Allah', and has to be shared, maybe we should make water free for everybody also, since it is more essential to us than oil. Not talking

Although Petronas' primary responsibility is to take care of the nation's oil resources, and contribute to the people of the nation, it has to also be remembered that as a business entity, it has to be aware of its own survival, especially in a very demanding, challenging and unpredictable we are in now.

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