Malaysian energy utility Tenaga Nasional Bhd will have to cope with gas shortages for another two to three months, says the country’s energy minister.

But electricity prices will remain unchanged, forcing Tenaga to tackle losses from using fuel oil, he added.

“At the moment, the electricity price stays, that is a government decision,” Minister of Energy, Green Technology and Water Peter Chin told Reuters on the sidelines of the Singapore International Energy Week conference.

“Tenaga as an operating company and Petronas as a gas supplier will have to work within this pricing system at the moment.”

Tenaga’s additional costs from buying fuel oil to substitute natural gas for generation totalled 2.1bn ringgit ($684m) for the second half of 2011, said the company’s CEO.

Chin said the government could help Tenaga cope with these extra costs. The gas shortage is due to a lack of maintenance on production platforms operated by state oil and gas group Petronas, he said.

“We have to grapple with this issue for the next two to three months. It is a maintenance issue rather than a complete lack of gas,” he told Reuters.

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