Cost cutting and consolidation

Resources Corner

The oil price recovery halted this week and energy stocks traded lower, but as weaker fuel prices look set to stay the big players are focusing on cost cutting and consolidation.
 
Woodside Petroleum has reported a fall in quarterly revenue and production for the second quarter of 2015, Caltex has improved its profit over the first half of the year and AGL Energy says it will focus on core projects and sell off a number of gas assets and activities following a review.
 
Commentary
 
This week Finance News Network spoke with Peter Coleman, CEO and Managing Director of Woodside Petroleum Limited (ASX:WPL) about the company’s focus for the immediate future as well as recent acquisitions. 
 
FNN: What is Woodside Petroleum’s vision and your strategy to achieve it?
 
Peter Coleman: Woodside Petroleum Limited’s (ASX:WPL) vision is to be a global leader in upstream oil and gas. That helps us a lot, because it means we need to be competitive on a global basis and it really sharpens us up.
 
Our strategy is threefold. It’s to maximise the value of our existing world-class assets, mostly located here in Australia. It’s to leverage our very distinctive capabilities that we have, that will continue to allow us to pursue new opportunities. And thirdly, it’s to grow our portfolio and grow that portfolio through either acquisition, or through organic means.
 
FNN: What are your plans and targets for growing production and enhancing performance?
 
Peter Coleman: Our plans for growing production are twofold. We have an exploration program that’s very active. It’s both active here in Australia and we move overseas in the second half of 2015. We’ll be drilling wells in South Korea and then some highly prospective regions in Myanmar as well as Cameroon and elsewhere. We’re very active in that space.
 
In the near term, we’ve got our own growth through drilling wells in our existing fields. And then of course, we’ve got our new Wheatstone project coming on stream in late 2016. And that will add significant growth to Woodside’s portfolio. In the longer term, we’ve just announced we’ve gone into front-end engineering and design on our Browse project. And we hope to go to a final investment decision on that project next year, that’ll be post 2020 growth. So you can see we’ve got a nice staircase of growth coming over the next few years, for our shareholders.
 
See the whole interview here.
 
Results...
 
Woodside Petroleum Limited (ASX:WPL) has reported a fall in quarterly revenue and production for the second quarter of the 2015 calendar year. The oil and gas producer’s output fell 14.5 per cent to 20.1 million barrels of oil equivalent in the June quarter. 
 
Caltex Australia Limited (ASX:CTX) has improved its profit over the first half of the 2015 financial year.  The transport fuel supplier reports its unaudited historical cost profit after tax including significant items lifted to $375 million, from $163 million the year before. The result was aided by a $28 million property sale in Western Australia and a product and crude oil inventory gain of about $95 million.  
 
Doing deals
 
AGL Energy Limited (ASX:AGL) says it will focus on core projects and sell off a number of gas assets and activities following a review. AGL will keep the Camden and Gloucester gas projects along with storage facilities at Newcastle and Silver Springs and a plant at Wallumbilla. AGL will not proceed with the Camden Northern Expansion project and will sell off assets in the Hunter and Cooper Oil project as well interests in Spring Gully and Moranbah.
 
Service Stream Limited (ASX:SSM) says it has renewed its solar PV contract with Origin Energy. The three year contract is worth around $50 million to Service Stream and also provides for two contract extensions of one year each. 
 
Boosting reserves
 
Shares in Austin Exploration Limited (ASX:AKK) jumped after announcing it hit oil in Kentucky. The Australian-based oil and gas exploration company says the well was successfully drilled and is currently producing oil under natural pressure. Flow rates have yet to be determined as production facilities will be installed over the course of the next few weeks. 
 
AWE Limited (ASX:AWE) has announced a major upgrade to reserves and resources in the Sugarloaf area of mutual interest in Texas, America. The oil and gas company holds a 10 per cent interest in the area which covers a number of leases totalling about 24,000 acres.