A strong performance from its suite of LNG project interests in Australia and PNG has seen Santos achieve a number of new annual sales and production records.

Boosted by increasing production at GLNG, and strong performances from the PNG LNG and Darwin LNG projects, Santos set new markets for:
* annual sales volumes of 84.1 mmboe, up 31% and above the upper end of guidance.
* annual production of 61.6 mmboe, up 7% and towards the upper end of guidance.
* annual LNG sales volumes of 2.8 million tonnes, up 89%.
The company also benefited from a cost cutting programme which saw its upstream unit production costs US$8.50/boe, down 18% on the prior year.
CEO Kevin Gallagher noted that 2016 was a year of significant change for Santos.

“We restructured the business, removed substantial costs and generated free cash flow for the first time in many years. Our production cost per barrel has reduced, and we are free cash flow positive below US$38 per barrel, down from US$47 per barrel at the start of 2016. Production and sales volumes were both at record levels for the company. What is most pleasing is that we have accomplished all this while continuing to perform at record safety levels.

“In addition to our cost out success, we have also implemented a new organisation structure, increased focus on maximising production across our assets, developed a clear, new strategy, enjoyed exploration successes in WA and PNG, sold non-core assets and strengthened our balance sheet for a lower oil price world through the successful institutional placement completed in December.

“All of this represents significant achievements in a very short period of time and demonstrates the commitment all of us at Santos have to turnaround this business. Eligible shareholders currently have the opportunity to participate in Santos’ turnaround strategy through the Share Purchase Plan Offer, which closes on 31 January 2017.

“We enter 2017 with a clear strategy and a solid platform off which we can build and grow. Our business turnaround will continue as we reshape and focus our organisation to support five core, long-life natural gas assets: Cooper Basin, GLNG, PNG, Northern Australia and WA Gas. This singular focus will allow Santos to become a leaner, lower cost and high performing business with significant upside opportunities across our portfolio.

“A recent example of such opportunities was our decision to farm-in to the Muruk-1 prospect in PNG, which successfully discovered gas in December. This takes us into 2017 excited by what this could mean for our PNG business,” Mr Gallagher said.