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Summary

Interim Report - 5 September 1997

Increase In Santos Interim Profit

Santos today announced an after tax operating profit for the 1997 first half of $102.3 million, an increase of 15.5% on the 1996 first half result of $88.6 million.
The improved profit performance was primarily the result of increased production and higher product prices.

Managing Director, Mr Ross Adler, said that Santos’ profit increase continued the positive trend in the company’s overall performance.

Earnings per share increased by 13.8% from 16.0 cents to 18.2 cents.

Directors declared an increased interim dividend of 12.0 cents per share, fully franked, up from 11.0 cents per share, fully franked, in 1996. . The dividend will be paid on 19 November 1997 to shareholders registered in the books of the company at the close of business on 24 October 1997.

The company’s exploration spending of $77.1 million ($49.3 million in the 1996 first half) yielded an overall success rate of 64%.

Development expenditure increased substantially by 71.9% to $192.5 million, reflecting the large range of projects currently in progress.

Highlights of the first half include:-

The acquisition of petroleum interests which provide the company with additional producing interests and further exploration acreage offshore Western Australia and in the Northern Territory and the Bass Basin.
Delivery of first gas from South West Queensland to Brisbane.
Announcement by AGL of the first contract for sales of Cooper Basin gas to Victoria.
Two discoveries in Offshore Australia in the Zone of Cooperation.
Substantial progress on the development of the Stag and Elang oil fields Offshore Australia and the SE Gobe oil field in Papua New Guinea, all for first production in 1998.
Discovery of six new fields in the Cooper/Eromanga Basins in South Australia and South West Queensland.
In the United Kingdom, announcement of the development of the Banff oil field in the Central North Sea.
In the United States, eight discoveries and award of interests in 9 exploration blocks in the Central Gulf of Mexico in the annual lease sale.
In Indonesia, award of a 61.1% interest in the Korinci-Baru Production Sharing Contract in central Sumatra in Indonesia.
A successful rights issue which raised $270 million before costs to assist in funding the company’s major expansion programme.

Commenting on the outlook for the remainder of 1997, Mr Adler said:-

“The company will strive to maintain its sound exploration performance and to ensure that the range of current development projects are completed on schedule”.

“Subject to unforeseen circumstances, it is anticipated for the full year that production and sales volumes and earnings will moderately exceed 1996 levels.”

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