UPDATE 1-Thai PTTEP cuts 5-year investment budget, sales forecast

Wed Mar 5, 2014 1:43am EST

* PTT sees 2014 revenue up 4 percent

* PTTEP to invest $25 billion in next 5 years

* Aims to list refinery SPRC, power unit in H2

* PTTEP petroleum sales seen at 325,000 BOEPD, up 10 pct on year

By Pisit Changplayngam

BANGKOK, March 5 (Reuters) - Thailand's PTT Exploration and Production Pcl said it has cut its five-year investment budget by 8 percent and 2014 petroleum sales target by 3 percent due to lower output from an Australian field and a delay in the startup of a gas field in Myanmar.

The country's top oil and gas explorer aimed to spend $25 billion during 2014-2018, lower than the previously announced $27.5 billion after an asset swap in the Canadian KKD oilsands project with Norway's Statoil.

"We don't have to invest more after the restructuring in the KKD project. That will affect sales volume too," Yongyos Krongphanich, senior vice president for finance, told reporters.

Norway's Statoil is stepping up its exposure to Canadian oilsands, paying about $200 million to take full control of some assets it had previously shared with the Thai explorer.

PTTEP now expects 2014 petroleum sales of 325,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day (BOEPD), versus an earlier forecast of 337,000 BOEPD, as a cyclone in Australia cut output at the Montara field to below its 30,000 barrels per day (bpd) target, Yongyos said.

"The impact from weather conditions will cut output by 3,000-4,000 bpd," he said.

The sales forecast represented a 10 percent increase from 2013 when the company cut it sales target twice due to repeated delays in the Montara field.

He also said the startup of Zawtika natural gas field in Myanmar will be delayed by a month and the new schedule will be in the second quarter of this year.

The flagship company of state-controlled PTT Pcl, ranked among Asia's top 10 explorers, is scouting for oil and gas assets to boost energy security in fast-growing Thailand. Southeast Asia's second-biggest economy relies on natural gas to generate almost 70 percent of its electricity.

In separate briefing, PTT said its 2014 revenue is expected to rise 4 percent to 2.97 trillion baht ($91.41 billion) due to higher oil and gas demand in line with the country's economic growth.

The forecast was based on the projection of average Dubai crude prices at $105 bpd, slightly lower than last year, Phichin Aphiwantanaporn, vice president for investor relations, told reporters.

PTT uses Dubai crude as its benchmark for product prices.

The energy giant also aims to list shares of oil refinery Star Petroleum Refining Co (SPRC) and its power unit, Global Power Synergy Co, on the Thai bourse in the second half of this year, Phichin said.

SPRC, 64-percent owned by oil giant Chevron Corp, operates a 160,000 barrel-per-day refinery in eastern Rayong province.

PTT, which scaled back spending plans for last year, has long planned to dilute its 36 percent holding in SPRC, but the listing has been delayed for several years as negotiations with Chevron foundered on differences over details.

Phichin also said PTT was expected to post losses of about 30 billion baht from the subsidies on natural gas vehicles (NGV) and liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) in 2014 due mainly to a limited number of NGV service stations.

PTT's gas operations, which accounted for one-fifth of its 2013 operating profit, have suffered from the impact of subsidies for several years as drivers shifted from costlier oil to gas.

PTT shares, valued at $26 billion on the Thai bourse, have fallen 12 percent in the past 12 months, in line with the main index. PTTEP lost 0.32 percent over the same period.

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