Demand for gas is driving deals

Resources Corner

As demand for gas grows, so too does investment in the development of LNG projects across the country. While domestic contracts for gas have historically been stable, they will increasingly be impacted by global market forces with Asian spot prices hitting record highs last month.
 
Woodside Petroleum Chairman, Michael Chaney, sees strong growth in LNG demand forecasting a doubling of gas demand by 2030. 
 
Horizon Oil and Roc Oil have announced a merger that will make them a key player in the Asia region. 
 
The Santos PNG LNG project has begun to produce gas ahead of schedule.
 
AWE has reported strong production results and looks set to meet guidance estimates.
 
Origin Energy has also increased productivity with revenue hitting $253 million.  
 
Commentary
 
Finance News Network spoke with Craig James, Chief Economist at Commonwealth Bank of Australia’s (ASX:CBA) broking arm Commsec. 
 
Mr James sees continuing growth in China and stable oil prices.   
 
“When we get into the second half of the year it’s going to be clear that China is still growing and that China is still committed to strong growth.”
 
“I think the Chinese authorities are very much committed to a growth target around the 7 to 7 and a half per cent and I think they’re going to hit that target.”
 
“I think what we’re going to see in terms of oil prices is pretty much steady prices around $100 a barrel.”
 
Merger Activity
 
Horizon Oil Limited (ASX:HZN) and Roc Oil Company Limited (ASX:ROC) have announced merger plans to create a leading Asian exploration and production company. In an all scrip equal merger deal Horizon shareholders will receive 0.724 ROC shares for each Horizon share they hold under a Horizon scheme of arrangement.  
 
Production growth
 
Oil and gas explorer Santos Limited (ASX:STO) says its PNG LNG project has started producing liquefied natural gas ahead of schedule. Santos has a 13.5 per cent interest in the PNG LNG project which is expected to quadruple the company’s LNG production once it reaches full production. 
 
Oil and gas explorer AWE Limited (ASX:AWE) has produced strong sales revenue of $93 million for the 3 months resulting in year to date revenue of $268 million. A 21 per cent jump on the same 9 month period last year. Production is tracking towards the upper end of guidance for the full year and all projects are on or ahead of schedule.
 
Origin Energy Limited (ASX:ORG) has increased production by 10 per cent in the March quarter as sales revenue hit $253 million in its exploration and production business. Gains were primarily due to contributions from the Australia Pacific LNG project and Otway.
 
Setbacks
 
Woodside Petroleum Limited’s (ASX:WPL) Chairman has conceded setbacks in the Leviathan joint venture have been troubling for the oil and gas producer. Michael Chaney told investors the company continues to push ahead with talks to finalise its entry into the Leviathan joint venture.

-- John Treadgold