Basin review, Cooper Basin, Finance, Markets

Beach Energy records strong gas production in December quarter

Revenue for the quarter was $194 million, with lower oil prices the main driver of the 17 per cent decline. At quarter end, cash reserves were $249 million with the debt facility of $300 million remaining undrawn.

Strong gas production, underpinned by the South Australian Cooper Basin Joint Venture (SACB JV) infill drilling program, and the continued outperformance of the Bauer field resulted in strong December quarterly production of 2.4 MMboe, in line with the prior quarter.

First half production was 4.8 MMboe, only slightly down on the prior corresponding period.

As a result, Beach has narrowed its guidance range from 8.6-9.4 MMboe to 8.9-9.4 MMboe.

In response to the recent downturn in the oil price, Beach has reduced capital spend by approximately 20 per cent. This reduction mainly consists of SACB and South West Queensland Joint Ventures (SWQ JVs) gas projects, as advised by Santos, and discretionary drilling and infrastructure projects.

A further revision of the Santos operated SACB and SWQ JVs 2015 capital expenditure budget is expected in the coming weeks. This may further impact on Beach’s capital expenditure.

Outgoing Managing Director Reg Nelson said that despite the low oil prices, the company’s operated areas on the Western Flank are still highly profitable.

“We are the lowest cost operator in the Cooper Basin, and we continue to implement operational efficiencies to not just maintain these levels but improve them,”? Mr Nelson said.

Mr Nelson said in the Bauer field, an excellent example of operational efficiency was the new pad drilling program, which resulted in savings in time and costs and a reduction in the operating footprint.

The Nappamerri Trough Natural Gas joint venture with Chevron continues to progress well, with the Stage 1 work program in ATP 855 completed following fracture stimulation of Geoffrey-1.

“Our results from Etty-1 in particular are extremely promising, with a new play type identified in the Daralingie Formation. This formation will now be a priority target for further appraisal testing as we move into Stage 2 of the program,”? Mr Nelson said.

Fracture stimulation and flow testing of Boston-2, on the South Australian side, will take place in the third quarter, marking the completion of the broader Stage 1 work program.

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