SINGAPORE (Mar 12): More jobs and contracts are seen in the oil and gas industry this year, particularly in the upstream sector. Petroliam Nasional is set to increase its capital expenditure for the first time in three years on the back of the recovery in oil prices and its ongoing cost-efficiency drive that boosted profit in 2017 to a level not seen since 2013.

Petronas will spend “around RM55 billion [$18.6 billion]” this year on capex with a higher commitment to upstream development. The national oil firm spent RM44.5 billion on capex in 2017 — down 11.7% from 2016 — with a focus on the downstream sector. “We are in a stronger position to execute our long-term growth strategy,” president and CEO Wan Zulkiflee Wan Ariffin — better known as Wan Zul — told reporters at the group’s 2017 results briefing two weeks ago.

He warned, however, that the industry was not out of the woods yet. “While it may seem that we have left the depth of [the industry] downturn behind us, I would like to caution that the outlook is not all blue skies.

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