Malaysia seeks Australian oil and gas expertise

11 Feb 2015

Malaysia’s oil and gas sector is looking to improve productivity, reduce costs and upskill its workforce, opening up a multitude of business and collaboration opportunities for Australian mining companies and education providers.

Low oil prices are putting pressure on new capital expenditure in the Malaysian oil and gas sector, creating demand for creative, cost-effective approaches and technology solutions.

For instance, members of the Malaysian Oil & Gas Services Council (MOGSC) have expressed interest in working with Australian companies in areas such as asset integrity, offshore drilling, remote platform communications technology, robotics, and workplace health and safety. This interest arose as a result of two oil and gas conferences hosted by Austrade in 2014.

‘As Australian fields shift from exploration to production, it is high time that more Australian oil and gas companies look to countries like Malaysia to expand their customer base,’ said Susan Kahwati, Senior Trade Commissioner, Austrade Malaysia.

‘With the ASEAN Economic Community coming into force on 1 January 2016, a foothold in Malaysia could open valuable avenues to other parts of the region.

‘For Australian companies with something unique to offer, now is a good time to introduce innovative solutions, either directly to customers, or through joint ventures or even strategic acquisitions of local companies under financial pressure,’ Kahwati said.

The 15th Asian Oil, Gas and Petrochemical Engineering Exhibition, to be held in Kuala Lumpur from 2–4 June 2015, will provide a good opportunity for Australian oil and gas companies wanting to explore markets in South-East Asia. The exhibition is the largest of its kind in the Asian region and attracts more than 22 000 visitors from 72 countries. If registering for the exhibition, please also email Austrade Kuala Lumpur to discuss whether Austrade can help you.

As Malaysia targets economic development and looks to transition its workforce to more value-added sectors, it will need to quickly upskill the current and future generation of workers. Australia’s solid reputation in Asia as a provider of quality education, particularly in the area of vocational education, is highly attractive to the Malaysian workforce.

‘While major entities like Petronas and Sapura Kencana are reducing spending, they still need to train their employees and keep up with global advances in technology to pursue future growth,’ said Kahwati.

In November 2014, Austrade hosted the Global Oil & Gas Workforce Development Forum to draw attention to Australia’s training expertise in the oil and gas sector.

The Forum, which was a joint collaboration with the MOGSC and University Technology PETRONAS (UTP), comprised a workforce development forum, a roundtable discussion and tailored business meetings. It involved 18 speakers from Australian and Malaysian organisations such as Curtin University of Technology, the Energy and Minerals Institute at the University of Western Australia, Harness Energy, Site Group International, Dynamiq, WorleyParsons, K2 Technology and LogiCamms Competency.

The event was well regarded by the more than 100 attendees, and Austrade is now working with many of them to pursue opportunities for collaboration between Australian training providers and Malaysian companies.

Kahwati said the strong affinity between Malaysia and Australia, built around tourism and education links, means both countries are well positioned to explore opportunities in the current economic climate.

‘Australian companies are used to working in a cost-constrained environment, in hard-to-get-to places, with little access to existing infrastructure,’ she said. ‘As a result, our companies have learned to be innovative, nimble and highly efficient.

‘In addition, the Australian dollar has fallen by around 10 per cent over the last two years, making us increasingly cost-competitive against our northern hemisphere competitors.’

Australian companies looking for detailed information on specific opportunities, or wanting to gauge potential interest in their particular product, service or training offering, should contact Austrade on 13 28 78 or kuala.lumpur@austrade.gov.au.