Malaysian oil and gas company Petronas has announced its results for the first quarter (Q1) of 2019, reporting a profit after tax (PAT) of RM14.2bn ($3.4bn), representing a 9% increase on Q1 2018’s PAT of RM13bn.

Petronas attributes this increase to higher sales volumes for petroleum products coupled with the effect of the weakening Malaysian Ringgit against the US dollar.

Petronas’ Q1 2019 revenue increased by 12% to RM62bn compared with 2018’s Q1 2018 revenue of RM57.9bn. Cash flows from operations stood at RM23.2bn, a 6% increase from the RM25bn cash flows reported in Q1 2018.

The company’s Q1 2019 earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) increased by 11% to RM27.8bn from 2018’s Q1 EBITDA of RM25.0bn.

Petronas’ Q1 2019 PAT for its upstream business was RM9.2bn, a decrease from its Q1 2018 PAT of RM10.2. The company cited lower net write-back of impairment on assets and higher production costs as reasons for this decrease, adding that it was offset by higher revenues.

Total production volume in Q1 2019 was 2.4 million barrels of oil equivalent per day (MMboepd), a decrease from Q1 2018’s total production volume of 2.5MMboepd. According to Petronas this decrease was due to lower crude production from Iraq and was partially offset by higher gas production from Turkmenistan.

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Seven offshore projects achieved first hydrocarbons in Q1 2019, adding 48,000boepd of new production to Petronas’ portfolio. Petronas made four exploration discoveries in the quarter, also acquiring two offshore blocks and signing three production sharing contracts through its subsidiaries.

Petronas president and CEO Tan Sri Wan Zulkiflee Wan Ariffin said: “Petronas’ improved performance in the first quarter of 2019 compared to the same period last year demonstrates the strength of our three-pronged strategy and resolute execution focused on continuous overall business improvement as well as commercial and operational excellence.

“Looking ahead, while facing market uncertainties, we will continue to invest for the future and have recently expanded our upstream portfolio through our equity acquisition of the Tartaruga Verde field in Brazil.

“Our strategic intent to venture beyond oil and gas has also made significant progress with our recent investments in renewables and speciality chemicals.”