GDF Increases Gas Production Target as it Boosts Capex

French energy group GDF Suez plans to target gas production of between 59 and 63 million barrels of oil equivalent by 2016, compared to 52 Mmboe in 2013, as part of its strategy "to build integrated positions all along the gas value chain", the firm said Thursday.

Reporting its results for 2013, GDF highlighted several successes it achieved in the gas sector during last year, including: entry into exploration and production licenses in Brazil and Malaysia; its agreement with Dart Energy to acquire a 25-percent stake in 13 onshore licenses with shale gas potential in the UK; and the commissioning of the Juliet and Orca field in the UK North Sea and of the Amstel field in the Netherlands.

In contrast to other European oil and gas firms' moves recently to slash capital spending in order to boost dividend payments, GDF said it would boost growth by increasing its annual gross capex budget to between $12.3 billion and $13.7 billion (EUR 9 billion and EUR 10 billion) for the 2014-to-2016 period from (EUR 7.5 billion) in 2013.

GDF reported an eight-percent decrease in revenues to $122 billion (EUR 89.3 billion) for 2013, with profit on the EBITDA level falling by 13.2 percent to $20.3 billion (EUR 14.8 billion).

GDF CEO Gérard Mestrallet commented in a company statement:

"The group's operational results in 2013 are strong and confirm our strategy in a very difficult economic environment for thermal power production and gas storage in Europe... GDF Suez will increase its development capex program, already the most ambitious in the industry. Our strategy is clear: to be the benchmark energy player in fast growing markets and to be leader in the energy transition in Europe."


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