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Petronas Gas, Top Oil to benefit as colder winter ups demand for fuel: Maybank KE

MALAYSIA's Petronas Gas and Thailand's Top Oil are among the potential beneficiaries of a possible increase in demand for fuel, said Maybank Kim Eng.

The brokerage on Friday noted that crude prices have risen by some 4 per cent on a week-on-week basis due to supply disruptions.

Oil workers in Norway are striking over pay, which will cut the country's output capacity by 8 per cent; and a hurricane has halted some production in the Gulf of Mexico.

These disruptions are temporary, Maybank KE said, but they are also taking place even as experts forecast a colder winter in North-east Asia.

Maybank KE cited the Japan Meteorological Agency's estimate of a 70 per cent possibility of La Nina weather patterns occurring during winter season.

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"A colder winter implies rise in power demand and will support prices for liquefied natural gas (LNG), coal, and kerosene/jet (fuel)," the brokerage said in a report.

The brokerage expects firmer LNG prices, which will be a positive for producers that "sell at spot prices" such as Petronas Gas.

Also among the beneficiaries that Maybank KE identified were Bangkok-listed PTT Exploration and Production (PTTEP), Thai Oil, and Star Petroleum Refining.

Bangkok-listed PTT, on the other hand, could experience a negative impact as higher LNG prices might mean it imports less LNG.

According to Maybank KE, PTT is unlikely to meet its goal of importing 11 shipments this year as prices have risen quickly. That means a lower risk that PTT will reduce its nomination for LNG from PTTEP.

Meanwhile, both Thai Oil and Star Petroleum Refining should benefit from higher jet fuel and kerosene demand. The former is most leveraged to jet, Maybank KE said, while the latter is a pure play refiner whose products include jet fuel.

Despite the collapse in air travel amid the pandemic, Maybank KE said there have been "signs of improvement" this week for gasoline and jet fuel prices.

"(The) pick-up in kerosene / jet (fuel) is driven by upcoming seasonal heating demand as Japan and South Korea raise stockpiles," the brokerage said, adding that the possibility of La Nina is also "supportive of demand".

They were, however, quick to caution that a "meaningful rebound" in jet fuel will have to wait till the second half of next year, since global commercial flights have yet to recover.

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