IAN KEVIN RAMDHANIE
Caribbean Institute for Security
and Public Safety
With help from its T&T operations, total production by Britain’s BG Group reduced by 10 per cent to 591,000 barrels of oil equivalent a day, chief financial officer Simon Jonathan Lowth said on the company’s second quarter (Q2) 2014 earnings call on July 31.
“The contribution from our base assets fell by 17 per cent to 493,000 barrels of oil equivalent a day, driven primarily by declines in Egypt and the US, together with a higher number of shutdown days in T&T and in Tunisia. These reductions were only partially offset by the ramp-up of production from new developments, including Brazil, Bolivia and the UK, although the performance from Jasmine has been lower-than-expected.”
However, the BG Group remains undaunted about prospects in T&T. BG Group interim executive chairman Andrew Gould, who spoke before Lowth, had said that in Q2 2014, “We continue to expand our presence in the Caribbean region, securing frontier acreage offshore Aruba. We also farmed into two blocks offshore T&T, further expanding our presence in country.” Before giving production highlights, Lowth was speaking about the company’s overall financial results.
“We’ve delivered a good set of results, with exploration and production (E&P) benefiting from the growing proportion of oil in our portfolio and liquified natural gas (LNG) performance reflecting additional cargo deliveries and favourable realised prices,” he said. On business performance, he said total operating profit was up 11 per cent to US$2 billion, driven mainly by LNG Shipping & Marketing operating profit, which was up 44 per cent.
Free cash flow improved by 16 per cent, mainly as a result of lower capital investment, principally in Australia, reflecting the group's lower equity share in the project and the completion of the majority of the pipeline in 2013, he said. Business performance earnings per share were 22 per cent higher at US$0.355, resulting from the improvement in total operating profit, coupled with a lower tax charge. This reflects an expected 1.0 per cent reduction in the full year effective tax rate to 40 per cent.
Total earnings per share was 64 per cent higher at US$0.401, and this included a net gain of US$170 million arising from the sale and leaseback of the company’s LNG vessels. Upstream operating profit fell by 2 per cent to US$1.2 billion, he said. E&P revenues benefited from a combination of higher realised oil prices, together with the higher proportion of oil in the portfolio, he said.
However, the increase in revenue was almost entirely offset by increased E&P costs. Liquefaction profits were 37 per cent lower, reflecting the reduced throughput at Egyptian LNG. E&P costs increased by US$320 million, and royalties and other operating expenses rose by US$120 million, mainly as a result of the increased production from royalty-paying fields and higher oil prices, whilst other E&P costs increased by US$247 million. Aleem Khan