Robust sales revenue, production and free cash flow
- Sales revenue of US$1.5 billion in the fourth quarter.
- Fourth quarter production of 23.4 mmboe was slightly higher than the prior quarter primarily due to increased sales gas production. FY production of 92.2 mmboe pre-PSC (91.7 mmboe post-PSC) is at the top end of full year guidance.
- Bayu-Undan continuing to produce with gas being delivered into the Australian domestic market until end of field life.
- Strong free cash flow from operations of over $500 million in the fourth quarter and $2.1 billion for the full year. Free Cash Flow Breakeven Price of less than $28/bbl unhedged for the year.
- Net debt of $4.3 billion and gearing at 18.4 per cent excluding operating leases at 31 December 2023 (21.8 per cent when included).
Development projects progressing well
- The Barossa Gas Project is now 66.4 per cent complete. Following approval of the revised Drilling and Completions Environment Plan on 15 December 2023, drilling has now recommenced.
- The Federal Court discharged the injunction preventing pipelaying along part of the Barossa Gas Export Pipeline route on 15 January 2024. One-third of the pipeline has been installed to date.
- The Darwin Pipeline Duplication Project received Northern Territory Environmental Approval on 22 December 2023. The pipeline will transport Barossa gas to Darwin LNG and free up the existing Bayu-Undan pipeline to transport Barossa reservoir CO2 for carbon capture and storage in depleted reservoirs at Bayu-Undan.
- The Pikka Project was 37.4 per cent complete at 31 December 2023, progressing on time and on budget. Rig operations were completed on five wells and work is under way on the sixth well. Two wells have been stimulated with one successfully flowed back and one currently undergoing flow back operations. Flow back results are in accordance with prognosis.
- In PNG, the first of two Angore wells was successfully drilled and production liner run to well total depth. Reservoir characteristics align with pre-drill expectations.
Santos Energy Solutions is tapping into strong regional demand for CCS
- The Moomba CCS Project is 80 per cent complete with first injection on track for mid-2024. Moomba CCS is targeting injection costs of ~US$24 per tonne lifecycle breakeven, putting it at the lower end of the global CCS cost curve. Depending on available CO2 volumes, Moomba CCS could store up to 1.7 million tonnes of CO2 per year, equivalent to 10 per cent of the annual average emissions reduction rate needed to meet Australia’s 2030 and 2050 emissions targets.
- Flow testing on all four injection wells for Moomba CCS has been successfully completed.
- An MOU was signed with two major Japanese energy companies JX and Eneos to evaluate the potential to capture, transport and sequester emissions from Japan, which could support the expansion of Moomba CCS, with Phase 2 potentially storing third party CO2 from customers and hard-to-abate industrial sources.
- Bayu-Undan CCS project FEED is 85.5 per cent complete. Legislation passed the Australia Parliament to enable cross-border transfer of CO2 to and from Australia.
- Four additional nature-based projects registered by Santos and its partners to qualify for generation of emissions reduction units in both voluntary and compliance markets globally. Along with our PNG Markham Valley project, Santos nature-based portfolio now has the potential to generate over 10 million tonnes of emissions reduction.
Santos Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer Kevin Gallagher said the strong underlying business performance, combined with a disciplined focus on operational excellence, delivered a strong fourth quarter finish for 2023.
“The fourth quarter brought free cash flow for the full year to $2.1 billion, an outstanding achievement in what has been a challenging year. It positions us well to deliver shareholder returns, backfill and sustain our existing business, complete our major projects, Barossa and Pikka, progress our decarbonisation plans and grow our Santos Energy Solutions business,” Mr Gallagher said.
“I am very pleased to see that the Barossa pipelaying and drilling activities are now fully under way with first gas still expected in 2025. Given the challenges of the past two years, we have updated our cost and schedule guidance for the project. The team has done a great job in keeping Barossa close to the original schedule and managing the costs of delay.
“Our Moomba CCS project is on track for first injection this year and I believe it will be a game-changer for decarbonising Santos and also provide decarbonisation opportunities for other companies and hard-to-abate sectors.
“Our operational focus for 2024 is the execution of the Barossa, Pikka and Moomba CCS projects whilst maintaining a strong balance sheet.
“As previously announced Santos is in early-stage discussions to evaluate the merits of a potential merger with Woodside. The parties have agreed to exchange information to assess the benefits for our shareholders. Santos continues to consider alternative options to accelerate value for shareholders. There is no certainty that any transaction will eventuate from these discussions.” Mr Gallagher said.