Dateline 2015-12-01, InTheBlack:
The chief executive of Malaysian energy giant Petronas is using the sliding oil price to push the boundaries on innovation while reining in costs.
Datuk Wan Zulkiflee Wan Ariffin took stewardship of Malaysian state-owned oil and gas giant Petronas on 1 April 2015, a day known in many parts of the world as April Fools’ Day. The irony is not lost on the company veteran, given the tough trading conditions Petronas is battling on the back of a sustained slump in the price of crude oil.
It has made his role of president and chief executive an even greater challenge. Wan Zulkiflee is shepherding the company’s 51,000 employees in 75 countries through a thorough and very public cost-cutting drive. He’s also responsible for contributing a large chunk to the Malaysian Government’s coffers – 30 per cent of government revenue came from Petronas in 2014, down from 40 per cent in 2009.
Against this, the crude oil price has dropped by about 50 per cent since mid-2014, largely due to an over-supplied market. Prices spent much of 2015 below US$50 a barrel and, while they’ve recovered at times over the past 12 months, analysts believe it will be many years before oil again fetches US$100 a barrel.