Gas deals on the rise

Resources Corner

Resources and mining companies making news include Woodside selling a stake in its Browse LNG development, Origin inks a deal to sell gas from its Queensland coal seam gas reserves, Lynas launches defamation proceedings, Ramelius Resources releases its March quarter activities report and Kagara appoints voluntary administrators after failing to meet its debt obligations.
 
Woodside divests its Browse LNG stake
Woodside Petroleum Limited (ASX:WPL) has sold a stake in its Browse LNG development to Japan Australia LNG Pty Ltd for $US 2 billion. The divestment will drop Woodside’s stake from 46 per cent to 31.3 per cent. CEO Peter Coleman says the equity sale and LNG agreements demonstrate the value of the development.
 
“Browse is a world-class resource and the level of interest shown during this process reflects the strong ongoing demand for LNG from premium developments such as this,” said Mr Coleman.
 
Origin Energy inks gas sales deal 
Origin Energy Limited (ASX:ORG) has inked a deal to sell gas from its Queensland coal seam gas reserves to a joint venture called Gladstone LNG (GLNG). The joint venture includes Santos Limited (ASX:STO), France's Total, Korea Gas Corporation and Malaysia’s Petronas. Origin will supply Gladstone LNG with 365 petajoules of gas over 10 years from 2015, however the value of the deal has not been disclosed.
 
Origin Managing Director Grant King said, “The gas sales agreement with GLNG will deliver significant value to Origin, opening an export channel to market for our legacy fuel reserves and allowing a more rapid monetisation of the resource in line with international oil-linked pricing.”
 
Origin has also announced its largest ever wind power purchase agreement in which it will be supplied renewable energy from TrustPower’s planned Snowtown II wind farm in South Australia.
 
Kagara enters administration
Troubled base-metal mining company Kagara Limited (ASX:KZL) has appointed voluntary administrators after failing to meet its debt obligations. The administrators will work to independently investigate the affairs of the company and recommend options for its future. Just last month Kagara shares sank to a record low after announcing it would suspend a mine in Queensland to cut costs. Mid last year Kagara was a $548 million company, its market capitalisation is now around $100 million. Earlier this year Kagara announced job cuts, the resignation of its founding chairman Kim Robinson and the offloading of its nickel assets to Western Areas NL (ASX:WSA). Shares in Kagara have been suspended from trade after plunging more than 50 per cent this year. Shares last traded at 12 cents.
 
Resources News
The Australian Taxation Office reports miners recorded the largest falls in income of any industry in 2009-10, by $50 billion to $140 billion. Tax bills were also halved, the mining industry recording a 49.3 per cent reduction in net tax. That fall contributed to a 10.6 per cent decline in company tax take for 2010. The data also shows the petroleum resource rent tax raised $1 billion in the 2011 financial year, down from $1.26 billion.
 
Ramelius shares plunge after Q3 report 
Shares in Ramelius Resources Limited (ASX:RMS) plummeted after the company released its March quarter activities report. The gold miner says production at its flagship Wattle Dam project in Western Australia improved during the quarter but that “grades were extremely erratic”. Ramelius also stated it is likely the grade variation will continue for the remaining production life. The company is currently progressing a number of projects to replace Wattle Dam production from mid next year.
 
Lynas launches legal action in Malaysia 
Lynas Corporation Limited (ASX:LYC) has launched defamation proceedings against the "Save Malaysia Stop Lynas" group and a number of media outlets in Malaysia. Releasing its March quarterly report the rare-earths developer has advised, “The proceedings relate to various false and misleading statements that have been published in Malaysia concerning Lynas and its business". Lynas has also confirmed that, subject to the issuance of the temporary operating licence, it is on track for first feed to kiln in the second quarter. The latest report says 98 per cent of phase one construction of its rare earth refinery is complete and more than 85 per cent of pre-commissioning test-packs are complete.
 
 
Melissa Beaumont Lee