(EnergyAsia, April 26, Thursday) — Australian upstream company Santos said its first quarter production grew by 5% to 14.5 million barrels of oil equivalent, reflecting the start-up of a number of new projects during the past year. This record first quarter production was achieved due to new production from the Bayu-Undan LNG, Maleo gas and Casino gas projects, although this was partially offset by the impact of cyclones on Western Australian oil production during the quarter.


Sales revenue of $580.9 million was 7% lower than the previous corresponding period due to lower realised liquids prices driven by lower oil prices and the strengthening A$/US$ exchange rate.


Average realised gas prices increased by over 4% year on year to $3.83 per gigajoule (GJ).


Santos’ managing director John Ellice-Flint said: “This is a strong result for Santos, with production up on last year notwithstanding the impact of cyclones during the period.


“Significant progress was also made during the quarter with the completion of a new export pipeline and installation of additional compression at the Fairview field, which will see coal seam gas production ramp up further during the second quarter.


“Since October 2005, Santos has doubled Fairview production from 27 terajoules per day (TJ/d) to 55 TJ/d and our target is to lift production towards 70 TJ/d during the second quarter.


“Continued promising results for the Cooper Basin Oil Project, with a drilling success rate of 88% during the quarter augers well for increasing oil production over the remainder of 2007.


“A new discovery well, Itchy-1, was brought online during the quarter, free flowing at rates of approximately 1,000 b/d. The well is now being set up for higher flow with the installation of artificial lift through an electric submersible pump.”