Buoyant BG Group Signals Return to Output Growth in 4Q


LONDON, Oct 31 (Reuters) – British oil and gas firm BG Group reported earnings comfortably above forecasts on Thursday and said production would rise for the first time in five quarters, reassuring markets after a tough 12 months.

Production, in focus after a series of unexpected cuts over the past year, will rise in the fourth quarter, the firm said, turning a corner after output fell 10 percent to a six-year daily low in the three months to September.

BG's third quarter earnings were $1.1 billion, beating a consensus analyst forecast by 13 percent and helped by a low tax rate and a shift in output mix to more lucrative oil from gas.

"We will see production recover in the fourth quarter with the completion of our North Sea maintenance shutdowns and new projects coming on stream, most notably (the) Jasmine (field)," Chief Executive Chris Finlayson said in a statement on Thursday.

Shares in BG climbed 1.6 percent to be one of Britain's biggest blue-chip risers, though the stock price has yet to regain the level it traded at before the first output downgrade knocked a fifth off its value in one day last October.

"The market's taken it well that there's no new bad news on production or profitability. It's steady as it goes," Nomura analyst Theepan Jothilingam said.

It would be the first quarterly rise in production under Finlayson, who took over from long-serving Frank Chapman at the end of 2012.


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