The recovery in Asia’s demand for oil remains fragile despite the reopening of economies across the region, as a second wave of coronavirus outbreaks could hit consumption again, the outgoing head of Malaysia’s Petronas said.
“We really had a collapse these past few months, but are seeing signs of opening up of the economies,” Petronas’ CEO Wan Zulkiflee Wan Ariffin said in a conversation with IHS Markit’s Daniel Yergin on Monday.
“But … the recovery is fragile,” he said, in what is likely his last interview as head of one of Southeast Asia’s largest energy majors.
Energy affordability has become a priority for many governments, Wan Zulkiflee said, as the pandemic cut disposable incomes.
“When demand collapsed, our inventories were coming up, logistics were affected, customers were not taking products and essentially, we had issues on all fronts,” he said.
“This is also when we adopted the philosophy of ‘you produce only what you can sell’.”