Production Rise Boosts BHP Billiton Results

BHP Billiton Ltd.’s petroleum division is on track to reach its production guidance for 2014 after posting an improvement in output in a half year operational review Wednesday.

The diversified resources company reported that the petroleum division was one of four core business units on course to achieve its production targets following a strong six month period to end December 2013.

BHP Billiton’s guidance for the full year remains unchanged at about 250 million barrels of oil equivalent (MMboe) after the company managed total half year petroleum production of 120.4 MMboe.

The company recorded a 9 percent increase in liquids production to 50 MMboe during the six months, a result underpinned by a 72 percent improvement in output at its onshore operations in the United States.

However, this rise was offset by a previously expected decline across the company’s conventional business and downtime at the Pyrenees operation in Australia.

“The one month maintenance outage of the floating production storage and off-take facility at Pyrenees was completed ahead of plan and the field had returned to full production of 34 thousand barrels per day at the end of the period,” BHP reported.

BHP Billiton added that onshore U.S. liquids production was “constrained” by scheduled downtime across the Eagle Ford in the December quarter. Despite this, the company’s guidance for a 75 percent increase in liquids production onshore U.S. remains unchanged.

BHP Billiton’s natural gas production fell by 7 percent during the half year, as first gas from the Macedon operation in Australia was offset by lower Bass Strait demand and a decline at Haynesville.

The company said the petroleum business would incur rig termination costs of about $100 million and $600 million in depreciation charges related to Permian shale output in Texas following completion of exploration there.


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