October 22, 2018 / 11:24 PM / 22 days ago

UPDATE 1-Oil Search's 3rd quarter revenue jumps as PNG production picks up

(Adds details on PNG LNG, capacity talks, production figures)

Oct 23 (Reuters) - Oil Search Ltd said on Tuesday its third-quarter revenue nearly doubled over the previous quarter as higher oil prices and an uptick in production offset the impact of an earthquake in Papua New Guinea earlier in the year.

Revenue for the three months to September rose to $474.9 million from $262.8 million in the previous quarter, Oil Search’s highest quarterly revenue since the last quarter of 2014, the company said in a statement.

The Australian company reported a near 40 percent fall in its interim profit in August after a 7.5 magnitude earthquake in February in the rugged highlands region halted operations at its partially held PNG LNG liquefied natural gas project.

“Current production is approximately 30 percent above nameplate capacity,” Managing Director Peter Botten said in a statement.

The recovery prompted Oil Search to raise the lower end of its estimated annual production, which is now expected at 25 million to 26 million barrels of oil equivalent (boe).

Oil Search’s total production for the quarter was 7.5 million boe, with its share of production from PNG LNG amounting to 6.7 million boe. The project is managed by Exxon Mobil , with Oil Search holding a 29 percent stake.

Oil Search said the partners in PNG LNG and the rival Papua LNG project, led by Total SA, aim to reach key agreements with the PNG government in November, which would pave the way for a proposed expansion of PNG LNG.

Reuters, citing sources, reported last week that Unipec Asia, the trading arm of China’s Sinopec was in talks to buy more LNG from the PNG project.

Reporting by Ambar Warrick and Nikhil Kurian Nainan in Bengaluru; Editing by Richard Pullin

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