Origin Cites Higher Production for Fourth Quarter '09

Origin Energy released its Fourth Quarter 2009 Production Report, which covers its activities in the areas of gas and oil exploration and production.

Origin's Executive Director, Finance and Strategy, Ms Karen Moses, said, "The Exploration and Production business has delivered production in line with seasonal and operational expectations together with substantial progress across new developments such as Kupe and Talinga, drilling success in the Bass and Perth basins, agreement to acquire additional interests in the Otway Basin, and the acquisition of new opportunities in south east Asia."

The Exploration and Production business reported a 2 percent increase in production and a 16 percent increase in sales revenue for the quarter to December 2009 compared with the previous corresponding period in December 2008. The increases were primarily due to gas sales from storage, increased production from New Zealand assets, and higher liquids prices.

Production and sales revenue for the Half Year to December 2009 were 14 percent and 9 percent respectively lower than in the Half Year to December 2008. While partially offset by the sale of gas in storage, this was primarily attributed to the dilution of Origin's share of CSG together with lower contractual off-takes during the period and natural field decline.

The Australia Pacific LNG transaction has seen Origin dilute its interest in its CSG assets by 50 percent which has also been reflected in a lower share of production from CSG when quarterly and half year comparisons are made with the corresponding periods last year.

Ms Moses said, "Production from the areas now held through Australia Pacific LNG joint venture grew by 24 percent when compared with the prior Half Year.

"Further developments regarding the Australia Pacific LNG project included the awarding of three significant contracts for drilling and design, engineering, procurement and construction activities, as well as lodgement of the Project's Environmental Impact Statement.

"On the exploration front, Origin has conducted a successful offshore drilling campaign in the Bass Basin with the Trefoil 2 appraisal well successfully delineating the southern end of the field and the Rockhopper 1 exploration well discovering a new oil and gas field. In addition the Redback South 1 well in the Perth Basin achieved high flow rates indicating excellent reservoir quality. Results will be evaluated to determine the commercial potential of these fields," said Ms Moses.

During the Quarter Origin reached an agreement with Woodside Energy to acquire an additional 36.48 percent interest in the Otway Gas Project and entered into a farm-in agreement with Salamander Energy plc to earn interests in exploration blocks located in Vietnam, Thailand and Laos.