SYDNEY Feb 22 Australian oil and gas producer
Santos reported a 34 percent rise in annual profit
after lifting gas production and said its major LNG development
projects remained on track.
Santos, the country's No. 2 energy firm, posted an
underlying profit of A$606 million ($621 million) for 2012, up
from A$453 million in 2011 and compared with consensus analysts'
forecast of about A$600 million.
Santos maintained its 2013 production target at 53-57
million barrels of oil equivalent.
Like other gas producers, Santos has been grappling with
cost increases on development projects, with the strong
Australian dollar a major factor. Rival Origin Energy
on Thursday announced a 7 percent hike in costs at its Australia
Pacific LNG project.
Santos said its $18.5 billion Gladstone coal seam gas to LNG
(GLNG) project in Queensland, which is almost half complete, was
still on track to start producing LNG in 2015.
GLNG has had to purchase additional gas reserves from
producers in the area, a move that some industry analysts have
interpreted as a sign Santos has not been as successful as it
had hoped in proving up gas reserves for its flagship
Santos said the Exxon Mobil-led $19 billion Papua
New Guinea LNG project was also on track to come online in 2014.
Santos' Moomba-191 in South Australia's Cooper Basin became
the country's first commercially producing shale gas well last
year, and was producing at 2.5 million standard cubic feet per
day at the end of the year. Four new exploration wells were
planned for 2013, Santos said.
Larger rival Woodside Petroleum beat analyst
expectations with a record full-year net profit on Wednesday
after its Pluto liquefied natural gas (LNG) plant boosted
($1 = 0.9754 Australian dollars)
(Reporting by Rebekah Kebede and Lincoln Feast; Editing by John