New projects push Santos and Woodside to records
WOODSIDE Petroleum and Santos set production and sales records in the December quarter as new developments came on stream.
Woodside's Pluto LNG project north of Karratha helped boost overall production 31 per cent in 2012 to 85 million barrels of oil equivalent (mmboe), although prices fell in the fourth quarter as fewer cargoes went to the higher-priced spot market - a one-off due to a quicker-than-expected ramp-up in the second and third quarters. Woodside's sales rose 30 per cent to $US6.2 billion.
Santos reported record sales in 2012 of $3.2 billion, up 18 per cent, driven by a 33 per cent rise in crude oil production from Reindeer in the Carnarvon Basin and Chim Sao off Vietnam. Although production rose 10 per cent to 52 mmboe in 2012, that is short of Santos's record 61 mmboe in 2006 when Mutineer-Exeter off WA peaked.
Woodside shares were unchanged at $35.20. Santos rose 8c to $11.72 in a flat market.
Shares in both companies have rallied in recent months in the wake of announcements by Woodside, which has entered into a joint venture at Israel's Leviathan field with Noble Energy, and Santos, which has reported shale gas production from the Cooper Basin and a discovery at its Crown field in the Browse basin.
One analyst, speaking off the record, said both production reports tallied with expectations. "There was nothing too new in either of them. There is the potential Santos is towards the bottom end (of consensus forecasts), so that might surprise some of the other guys out there. Some analysts may be over-estimating what some of (Santos's) fields can do."
Santos gave updated guidance on production costs for 2012 of $660 million, above estimates of up to $640 million. Santos said its major projects PNG LNG and Gladstone LNG were were more than 70 and 45 per cent complete, and on track for first gas from 2014 and 2015, respectively. Santos drilled 143 coal seam gas wells in the Surat and Bowen Basin as part of the Gladstone LNG project, slightly below target analysts said.