The National, Wednesday 22nd August, 2012
OIL Search managing director Peter Botten says the company performed well in the first half of this year, achieving a net profit after tax of US$107.5 million, which was only a little lower than in the corresponding period of last year.
“Oil production remained strong in the first half, with a number of new wells and workovers contributing to the result, partially offset by a two week scheduled facilities shut-down for PNG LNG related work,” he said in the company’s half-yearly report released yesterday.
“Oil and gas sales were similar to first half 2011 levels, due to the timing of oil shipments.
“Global oil prices remained firm for most of the half year, with the company realising an average price of US$115.48 per barrel, comparable to the corresponding period of 2011.
“The board has approved the payment of a 2012 interim dividend of two US cents per share, the same as the 2011 interim and final dividends.
“The company’s shares will commence trading ex-dividend on Sept 7, 2012, the record date for the dividend is Sept 13, 2012 and payments will be made to shareholders on or around Oct 8, 2012.
“A fully underwritten dividend reinvestment plan will fund this payment.”
Botten said PNG LNG project construction activities were making good progress
“Construction activities at the many PNG LNG Project operating sites continued apace during the period,” he said.
“Some of the milestones achieved included the completion of the outer shells and roof installation for the two LNG tanks, installation of key vessels and equipment on the LNG trains and the completion of the 2.4km jetty trestle and the offshore pipeline lay.
“The recent government elections caused no significant disruptions to activities at any of the work fronts.
“The project’s construction activities have now reached their peak level, with a workforce in excess of 17,600 people.
“At the end of last June, more than 8,500 PNG citizens had received training for both construction and production roles across the project and more than 1,300 local businesses had been supported through training and business development programmes.
“This leaves a strong legacy of skills and experience for use on future major developments, both in PNG and elsewhere.
“While substantial construction activities still remain to be completed, the project is presently on track to meet the revised budgeted capital cost of US$15.7 billion and continues to make good progress towards the 2014 delivery window.”
Oil Search’s new drilling programme, meantime, has had an excellent start, with the discovery of a major gas resource at the P’nyang South prospect in Western province.
“Work is presently underway on further defining the resource and analysing various development options,” Botten said.
“Based on data-to-date, Oil Search believes that P’nyang has the potential to be a key underpinning resource for LNG expansion, particularly in combination with the gas reserves upside in the associated gas fields.
“The second well in the gas expansion programme, Trapia 1, is currently drilling.
“This is a higher risk, exploration play but the prospect lies close to the existing PNG LNG fields and infrastructure so, if successful, would be a very valuable source of gas.”