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

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

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

Bight fight as drilling approved

Original article by Nick Evans, Perry Williams
The Australian – Page: 13 & 18 : 19-Dec-19

The National Offshore Petroleum Safety & Environmental Management Authority has imposed a number of conditions on Equinor after granting environmental approval for its plans for a drilling program in the Great Australian Bight. Amongst other things, the Norway-based energy group will be restricted to drilling between October and May. Environmental groups have opposed drilling in the Bight, as has mining magnate Andrew Forrest. Equinor expects to drill the first exploration well in late 2020.

CORPORATES
EQUINOR ASA, AUSTRALIA. NATIONAL OFFSHORE PETROLEUM SAFETY AND ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT AUTHORITY, AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF INDUSTRY, INNOVATION AND SCIENCE, CHEVRON CORPORATION, BP PLC, THE WILDERNESS SOCIETY, AUSTRALIAN PETROLEUM PRODUCTION AND EXPLORATION ASSOCIATION LIMITED, ACIL TASMAN PTY LTD, WOOD MACKENZIE

Oil Search boosts Alaska oil outlook

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

Oil Search has upgraded the 2C contingent resource estimate for the Pikka oil project in Alaska to 728 million barrels following an independent assessment. This is 46 per cent higher than Oil Search had estimated when it acquired its stake in the project in 2018; the company’s share of the 2C contingent resource has been increased from 127 million barrels to 371 million barrels. Oil Search and its joint venture partners expect to make a decision on the commencement of front-end engineering and design work in early 2020.

CORPORATES
OIL SEARCH LIMITED – ASX OSH, JP MORGAN AUSTRALIA LIMITED

Woodside’s Apache bid may kill Browse

Original article by Paul Garvey
The Australian – Page: 20 : 10-Dec-14

Insiders claim that Australian-listed Woodside Petroleum has made a pitch to US partner Apache ­Energy, to acquire the latter’s 13% stake in the Wheatstone LNG development offshore Western Australia. The likely price tag is $US1.8bn ($A2.17bn), and other potential suitors appear to have abandoned their bids due to the recent decline of the crude oil price. If Woodside goes ahead, it may no longer want to pursue its stalled Browse LNG project. A floating LNG production platform has been proposed for it by Woodside and allies Royal Dutch Shell and BP

CORPORATES
WOODSIDE PETROLEUM LIMITED – ASX WPL, APACHE ENERGY LIMITED, ROYAL DUTCH SHELL PLC, BP PLC, TEMASEK HOLDINGS (PTE) LTD, HARBOUR ENERGY LIMITED, NOBLE GROUP LIMITED, EIG GLOBAL ENERGY PARTNERS, PAVILION ENERGY PTE LTD, ORBIS AUSTRALIA PTY LTD, MACQUARIE GROUP LIMITED – ASX MQG

Santos slumps after rating downgrade

Original article by Angela Macdonald-Smith
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 17 : 10-Dec-14

Investors have responded bearishly to a move by Standard & Poor’s to reduce the credit rating of Australian-listed Santos from "BBB+" to "BBB". Santos shares closed $A0.60 lower at $A7.70 on 9 December 2014, after reaching an intra-day low of $A7.46. The oil and gas producer has indicated that the ratings downgrade will have no impact on its finances, and notes that it has a healthy balance sheet

CORPORATES
SANTOS LIMITED – ASX STO, STANDARD AND POOR’S (AUSTRALIA) PTY LTD, JP MORGAN AUSTRALIA LIMITED, NATIONAL AUSTRALIA BANK LIMITED – ASX NAB