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Petronas: The model of a modern national oil company

The Malaysia state firm is putting a legacy of underperformance behind it

Malaysia's state-owned oil company Petronas used to be the butt of jokes. Its critics called it a “cash cow” with “no discipline as to how funds are managed”, the company’s chief executive, Shamsul Azhar Abbas, recalled recently. But the mocking has stopped. Petronas is well on its way to becoming one of Asia’s more dynamic national oil companies (NOCs). True, Petronas, which was established in 1974, had a terrible track record internationally. At home, naturally declining oil production, coupled with rising demand, presented problems too. Abbas took the company’s helm almost three years ago. Since then the firm has started to change for the better. Petronas was proud to tell anyone that

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