(Wraps up Woodside and Santos reports)
* Woodside's Pluto LNG gets ready for first cargo shipment
* Woodside looks to Pluto II; Santos GLNG on track for 2015
* Santos, Woodside see revenue boost from higher prices
* Santos shares up 0.8 pct, Woodside rises 1.3 pct
By Rebekah Kebede
PERTH, April 19 Australia's largest oil and gas
company, Woodside Petroleum, said it is very close to
exporting liquefied natural gas (LNG) from its flagship project
and the nation's No. 2, Santos, reported higher
first-quarter output, sending shares of both companies higher on
Woodside is gearing up its Pluto LNG project to load its
first export cargoes in the "coming days," Woodside said in its
March quarter production report on Thursday.
The flagship A$14.9 billion ($15.47 billion) Pluto LNG is
Australia's third gas export project and the first to come
online in six years.
"Pluto has safely reached start-up and we look forward to
our first LNG cargo. Pluto will add to the solid production base
of our foundation projects," Woodside chief executive Peter
Coleman said in the report.
Although the Pluto development has come online in less than
seven years from its discovery, it is a year behind its original
target and A$900 million over-budget. Pluto LNG's first export
cargo has been slightly delayed from the original late March
The rest of Woodside's production was hit by Australia's
cyclone season, with output down 10 percent from the same period
in 2011 at 14.1 million barrels of oil equivalent (mmboe) in the
But Woodside said its production guidance for 2012 is
unchanged at 73 to 81 mmboe, with 17 to 21 mmboe expected to
come from Pluto LNG.
Santos, which also reported March quarter production on
Thursday, said it boosted first-quarter production by 13 percent
from a year ago to 12.4 million mmboe after starting up new
projects and as output in the flood-hit Cooper Basin continued
Guidance for 2012 is unchanged at 51 to 55 mmboe, Santos
Woodside shares rose 1.3 percent to just over A$35 per
share, while Santos shares gained about 0.8 percent to over A$14
per share by late morning. The two helped lift the broader
Australian market up 0.6 percent.
FOCUSED ON OUTPUT GROWTH
Both Woodside and Santos saw a boost in sales revenue from
higher oil and gas prices in the March quarter.
Woodside's quarterly sales revenues were around $1.2
billion, down slightly from the previous quarter, but still 20
percent above year-ago levels despite lower production, while
Santos sales revenue increased 50 percent from the previous
quarter to A$754 million.
Both Woodside and Santos were focused on production growth
from new projects.
Santos said a raft of new fields contributed to its higher
March quarter production including the Wortel gas project in
Indonesia, the Chim Sáo field in Vietnam and the Raindeer and
Spar projects in Western Australia.
Woodside also started up the Okha gas system on the North
West Shelf, and the project is expected to produce 30,000
barrels of oil per day.
With Pluto LNG in production, Woodside said it is in
discussions with other gas resource owners as part of its plans
to expand Pluto LNG.
Santos' $16 billion Gladstone LNG also remains on track for
first LNG production by 2015, the company said.
(Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman)