SINGAPORE, March 17 (Reuters) – Malaysia’s national oil company, Petroliam Nasional Bhd or Petronas, plans to expand its corporate venture capital arm by as much as $200 million as early as April, two sources with knowledge of the matter told Reuters.

It will focus on making innovation and technology investments across Asia-Pacific, the sources said, declining to be named as the matter is private. The extra funding could change as the plan is still being finalised, one of the sources added.

In a response to Reuters on Friday, Petronas said it “plans to allocate additional funds to Petronas Ventures, increasing the size of its venture capital arm from the $350 million previously announced in 2019”, but did not say by how much.

Petronas, Malaysia’s only Fortune Global 500 company, has been looking to diversify amid volatility in oil markets.

The state oil company first set up a venture capital arm called Petronas Corporate Venture Capital in 2019.

The arm was later renamed Petronas Ventures and has invested in companies including Malaysian agriculture technology startup Brantree Technologies and U.S-based waste-to-energy company Ekamor, according to its website.

Petronas Ventures’ main goals include scouting for niche innovative technology to enhance the group’s core operations and growth areas that could become its new sources of revenue, the company said on Friday.

Petronas has also been expanding in renewable energy, with the launch of its clean energy unit called Gentari in June.

Gentari aims to build renewable energy capacity of 30 gigawatts to 40 gigawatts by 2030 in Asia Pacific and sees India and Australia as its key markets for growth, its chief executive Sushil Purohit told Reuters in an interview earlier this month.

In February it bought Australian renewables firm Wirsol Energy, which owns solar farms and battery energy storage. Gentari declined to disclose the price of the purchase, but one source put the enterprise value of the deal at A$1 billion ($670 million).

($1 = 1.4916 Australian dollars)

Reporting by Yantoultra Ngui

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