The Export-Import Bank of the United States (Ex-Im Bank) has authorized a $2.95 billion direct loan to support U.S. exports to the Australia Pacific liquefied natural gas (LNG) project.
The transaction is Ex-Im’s second-largest single-project financing in history and is also the Bank’s first LNG project in Australia.
The project on Curtis Island in south-central Queensland will produce natural gas from coal-seam wells and will have total capacity of nine million metric tons per year. China Petroleum and Chemical Corp. (Sinopec) and Kansai Electric Power Co. Inc. of Japan will purchase most of the LNG produced. China Ex-Im Bank and commercial lenders are also providing debt financing for the project.
Ex-Im’s financing is expected to support an estimated 11,000 American jobs. Principal U.S. exporters are ConocoPhillips Co. and Bechtel International, both of Houston, Texas. Additional exporters and suppliers include numerous small businesses in Texas, Colorado, Nevada, California, Oregon and Oklahoma.
“Our authorization paves the way for U.S. companies to export equipment and services to this major LNG project and, in so doing, to maintain thousands of American jobs across the country,” said Ex-Im Bank Chairman and President Fred P. Hochberg. “This financing also demonstrates how the United States and China can work together for our mutual benefit to foster trade and develop critically needed energy resources.”
The transaction, approved by Ex-Im’s board of directors on May 3, was announced following Chairman Hochberg’s trip to China, where he participated in the fourth round of the Strategic and Economic Development Dialogue (S&ED) with Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner and other officials. The S&ED was held in Beijing on May 3-4.
Bechtel official Jay C. Farrar, who manages the company’s office in Washington, D.C., cited the importance of Ex-Im’s financing for U.S. exporters to large international projects. “Since 1992, Ex-Im Bank has been instrumental in the successful awarding and completion of projects involving Bechtel that have supported thousands of jobs for highly skilled employees at our company. The Bank’s financing also has helped to maintain thousands of additional jobs related to the supply chain for these projects,” Farrar said.
The Australia Pacific LNG project will involve development of coal-seam natural-gas fields, two gas transmission lines to a collection hub, a natural gas liquefaction plant and an adjacent marine shipping export terminal on Curtis Island near the city of Gladstone.
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Spanish oil company, Repsol, posted a net income of EUR 2.193 billion in 2011, 53.3% lower than that recorded in 2010 and which included the one-time gain from the agreement between Repsol and China’s Sinopec in Brazil.
Earnings were negatively affected by external factors such as the armed conflict in Libya and the strikes and the suspension of the Petróleo Plus program in Argentina.
The Upstream unit’s (exploration and production) recurring operating income was 1.301 billion euros by the end of 2011, a decrease of 11.7% compared to the previous year. Higher international crude oil and gas prices along with lower exploration costs somewhat mitigated the effect of lower production due to external factors and the depreciation of the dollar against the euro.
Repsol’s crude realization prices increased 14.4% compared to 2010. Particularly noteworthy was the 29.6% increase in the Repsol gas realization price compared with a 9.1% decline in the Henry Hub index benchmark. Realization prices had a positive impact of 648 million euros on the upstream unit’s income. During 2011, oil and gas production was 298,800 Boepd, 13.2% less than in 2010, mainly due to reduced production of liquids in Libya, and maintenance work in Trinidad and Tobago. In October, operations in Libya resumed and gross production of almost 300,000 Boepd has already been achieved.
Especially significant was the increased reserve replacement ratio for the Upstream unit, which in 2011 rose to 162% from 131% in 2010. Investments made during the period in this area totalled 1.813 billion euros, 62% more than during 2010. Investment in field development represented 43% of the total and was assigned mainly to the United States, Bolivia, Trinidad & Tobago, Venezuela, Peru and Brazil. Investments in exploration were 40% of total investments, and conducted primarily in the United States, Brazil and Angola. The rest of the investment went mainly to the acquisition of Eurotek in Russia.
During 2011 multiple operations were carried out in this unit that consolidated and increased a portfolio of assets and projects that will allow Repsol to meet its production growth objectives and reserves replacement ratio.
Repsol highlighted the start of development of the giant Cardon IV gas field in Venezuela, the new discovery in the Sapinhoa (previously Guará) appraisal well in Brazil which confirms the high potential of the area, as well as the declaration of commercial viability which allows the company to book reserves. Additionally the company increased production in the Margarita-Huacaya fields in Bolivia and the Shenzi field in the United States.
Repsol in 2011 also received approval from the Algerian authorities to start development work in the Reggane gas project in Algeria.
In addition, the company drilled six successful wells: Sapinhoa North, Northeast Carioca, Gávea (rated one of the 10 largest oil discoveries in the world in 2011) and Malombe in Brazil; Buckskin 2 in the United States and A1-130 in Libya (February 2011).
During 2011, Repsol added 720 mboe in contingent resources from successful exploration, acquisitions and revisions of existing fields. During the period, Repsol acquired a total of 79,000 km² of new acreage in 13 countries including Alaska, Ireland, Norway, Colombia and the United States.
In February 2012, Repsol announced two new discoveries; in Sierra Leone (Jupiter) and a highly promising find in Brazil (Pao de Açúcar).
The partnership announced today that it has made a high impact discovery in the Pão de Açúcar prospect located in the BM-C-33 block in the Campos Basin. The well, drilled by the Stena DrillMAX drillship, is located some 195 kilometres offshore Rio de Janeiro State in 2,800 meters of water.
The Pão de Açúcar well encountered two pre-salt accumulations comprising a hydrocarbon column of 480 meters with a total pay of around 350 meters. A test performed in a partial section of the pay zone flowed 5,000 barrels per day of light oil and 28.5 million cubic feet per day of gas. This was a choked Drill Stem Test (DST) with very limited drawdown. The Pão de Açúcar discovery is the third find made in the BM-C-33 block after Seat and Gávea and confirms the area’s high potential.
“The development potential of the Pão and Gávea discoveries will now be evaluated by the partnership. This discovery increases our understanding of the pre-salt potential in the Campos Basin and improves our confidence in the recently acquired acreage position in the pre-salt Kwanza basin of Angola,” says executive vice president for Exploration in Statoil, Tim Dodson.
“Statoil’s exploration strategy focuses on high impact opportunities and the deepening of core areas. The Pão de Açúcar success shows that we are delivering on our strategy,” continues Dodson.
“Statoil has clear ambitions to grow in Brazil through new exploration opportunities. The Pão discovery will become an important building block in our growth ambitions,” says Kjetil Hove, country president for Statoil in Brazil.
Repsol Sinopec is operator of the exploration consortium with a 35% stake. Partners Statoil and Petrobras hold respective 35% and 30% shares.
Statoil is also the operator of the Peregrino field in Brazil, which came on stream in April 2011.
The Pão discovery is the sixth high impact discovery made by Statoil in the last 12 months. The other discoveries are Skrugard and Havis in the Barents Sea, Johan Sverdrup (former Aldous/Avaldsnes) in the North Sea, Peregrino South in Brazil and Zafarani in Tanzania.
(*) ”High-impact well” = a total of more than 250 million barrels of oil equivalent (boe), or 100 million boe net to Statoil.
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