Oil M&A looms as Woodside clears decks; FAR in trouble

Original article by Angela Macdonald-Smith
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 17 & 22 : 31-Mar-20

James Byrne of Citibank is among the analysts who expect Woodside Petroleum to seek acquisitions after putting its key growth projects on hold. He notes that the oil and gas group has $US4.9bn in cash and $US7.9bn in liquidity, and it may be prepared to temporarily lose its BBB+ credit rating if the right acquisition emerges. Meanwhile, Far Limited has advised that the sharp decline in the crude oil price in recent months means that it cannot finalise new debt facilities to finance its share of the Woodside-led Sangomar oil project in Senegal.

CORPORATES
WOODSIDE PETROLEUM LIMITED – ASX WPL, FAR LIMITED – ASX FAR, CITIBANK PTY LTD

LNG riding out virus but risks remain

Original article by Angela Macdonald-Smith
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 21 : 5-Mar-20

Data from EnergyEdge shows that the Queensland Curtis LNG project’s shipments have fallen by six per cent so far in 2020, while Australia Pacific LNG’s export volumes are down two per cent. EnergyEdge says this is partly due to the Queensland government’s restrictions on port access by Chinese bulk carriers. EnergyEdge expects the Santos-backed Gladstone LNG venture to record an 18 per cent increase in shipments for the March quarter. GLNG does not have any customers in China, although coronavirus-hit South Korea accounts for 47 per cent of its shipments.

CORPORATES
ENERGYEDGE, QUEENSLAND CURTIS LNG PTY LTD, AUSTRALIA PACIFIC LNG LIMITED, GLADSTONE LNG PTY LTD, SANTOS LIMITED – ASX STO, ROYAL DUTCH SHELL PLC, ORIGIN ENERGY LIMITED – ASX ORG

Gas pressure rises as Asian demand cools

Original article by Perry Williams
The Australian – Page: 17 & 20 : 17-Feb-20

Australian LNG producers are facing a tougher trading environment in 2020, according to the Australian Energy Regulator, with Asian buyers seeking better deals and reducing the volumes they purchase. Australia supplied 49 per cent of China’s LNG needs in 2019, but demand for LNG in China in 2020 may now only increase by four per cent, compared to a previous forecast of 13 per cent. However, falling Asian LNG spot prices could be good news for Australian gas consumers, according to the AER, as it gives them more bargaining power when striking short-term gas deals with gas exporters.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIAN ENERGY REGULATOR

AFP probes Horizon graft claims

Original article by Angus Grigg, Jemima Whyte
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 1 & 2 : 11-Feb-20

Shares in Horizon Oil fell by 30 per cent on 10 November, after the publication of newspaper reports regarding a $US10.3 million ($15.4 million) payment that it made in Papua New Guinea in 2011. The payment was made to an unknown shell company, despite warnings from lawyers that the company could have links to William Duma, who was PNG’s petroleum minister at the time. The Australian Federal Police will investigate documents in which the concerns of lawyers involved in the matter are raised, while Horizon Oil will conduct an independent investigation into the issues raised in the newspaper reports.

CORPORATES
HORIZON OIL LIMITED – ASX HZN

Outdated tax gives LNG away for free

Original article by Patrick Commins
The Australian – Page: 4 : 10-Feb-20

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg has downplayed speculation that the federal government will make changes to the Petroleum Resources Rent Tax. However, Jason Ward from the Centre for International Corporate Tax Accountability & Research says changes to the PRRT are needed as it was originally designed for the oil industry, and Australia’s booming LNG industry means the tax is no longer "fit for purpose". The nation is now the world’s biggest exporter of LNG.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF THE TREASURY, CENTRE FOR INTERNATIONAL CORPORATE TAX ACCOUNTABILITY AND RESEARCH, AUSTRALIAN LABOR PARTY

Seeds of next LNG glut already being sown

Original article by Angela Macdonald-Smith
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 17 : 9-Jan-20

Growth in Asian demand for LNG slowed to 2.1 per cent in 2019, amid a global oversupply. However, Bernstein Research forecasts that the glut will end in the second half of 2020 as Asian demand rebounds and a five-year expansion of global output comes to an end. Bernstein also cautions that another oversupply could emerge in the mid-2020s, with a number of new LNG projects slated for coming years. The firm anticipates that projects to be approved over the next 18 months will boost global production by about 70 million tonnes a year.

CORPORATES
BERNSTEIN INVESTMENT RESEARCH AND MANAGEMENT, WOODSIDE PETROLEUM LIMITED – ASX WPL, SANTOS LIMITED – ASX STO, OIL SEARCH LIMITED – ASX OSH, EXXONMOBIL CORPORATION, ENTE NAZIONALE IDROCARBURI SPA, INPEX CORPORATION, TOTAL SA

Australian fuel supplies in the crosshairs

Original article by Patrick Commins
The Australian – Page: 18 : 9-Jan-20

Elizabeth Buchanan from the Department of Defence’s Australian War College says the oil price would be the "first casualty" if the US were to retaliate after Iran’s missile strikes on its bases in Iraq. She says Iran would be likely to use oil as a weapon against the US and its allies, warning that the latter are likely to be hardest hit as the US is now largely oil self-sufficient. Buchanan warns that Australia is particularly vulnerable given that most of its liquid fuel is imported and the nation has no emergency fuel stocks.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF DEFENCE. AUSTRALIAN WAR COLLEGE, AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF THE PRIME MINISTER AND CABINET, AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF THE ENVIRONMENT AND ENERGY, INTERNATIONAL ENERGY AGENCY

Australia tops LNG exports, worth $49bn

Original article by Nick Evans
The Australian – Page: 13 & 18 : 7-Jan-20

Data from EnergyQuest shows that Australia exported 77.5 million tonnes of LNG in 2019, overtaking Qatar as the world’s biggest exporter. Qatar had been forecast to export 75 million tonnes in 2019, although EnergyQuest notes that the Middle Eastern nation has yet to release its official export figures. The US exported 34.3 million tonnes of LNG in 2019. Meanwhile, EnergyQuest notes that Australia’s total LNG output capacity is 88 million tonnes at present.

CORPORATES
ENERGYQUEST PTY LTD, WOODSIDE PETROLEUM LIMITED – ASX WPL, WESTERN AUSTRALIA. ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AUTHORITY, AUSTRALIA. NATIONAL OFFSHORE PETROLEUM SAFETY AND ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT AUTHORITY, BHP GROUP LIMITED – ASX BHP, ROYAL DUTCH SHELL PLC, EQUINOR ASA, AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF THE PRIME MINISTER AND CABINET, AUSTRALIAN GREENS

Caltex dusts off Ampol brand

Original article by Nick Evans
The Australian – Page: 13 : 24-Dec-19

Caltex Australia will relaunch the Ampol fuel brand after US-based Chevron Corporation advised that its licence to use the Caltex brand will be terminated. Caltex will have three years to complete the rebranding of its petrol stations, with the process slated to begin within six months. The Ampol brand was established in 1936, but it was phased out when the company merged with Caltex in 1995. Chevron recently acquired fuel retailer Puma Energy Australia for $425m.

CORPORATES
CALTEX AUSTRALIA LIMITED – ASX CTX, CHEVRON CORPORATION, AMPOL LIMITED, PUMA ENERGY (AUSTRALIA) HOLDINGS PTY LTD

Energy giants make good on exploration promise

Original article by Angela Macdonald-Smith
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 23 : 20-Dec-19

Chevron will spend $75.9m on oil and gas exploration in Australia over the next three years, while BP in turn will spend $40.6m. South Australia’s Energy Minister Dan van Holst Pellekaan has welcomed their commitment to spend a combined $60m on exploration in the state. Meanwhile, Centre Alliance MP Rebekha Sharkie has criticised the National Offshore Petroleum Safety & Environmental Management Authority’s decision to approve Equinor’s drilling program in the Great Australian Bight. Chevron and BP had both abandoned plans to undertake exploration in the Bight in recent years.

CORPORATES
CHEVRON CORPORATION, BP PLC, SOUTH AUSTRALIA. DEPT FOR TRANSPORT, ENERGY AND INFRASTRUCTURE, AUSTRALIA. NATIONAL OFFSHORE PETROLEUM SAFETY AND ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT AUTHORITY, EQUINOR ASA, CENTRE ALLIANCE, AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF INDUSTRY, INNOVATION AND SCIENCE