Santos Forecasts Lower 2024 Output as Bayu-Undan Gas Field Nears End of Life

(Reuters) — Australia's Santos forecast a fall in 2024 output on Wednesday, as its Bayu-Undan gas field's life comes to an end and production from the West Australian offshore field declines.

The country's top energy producer expects to produce 84 to 90 million barrels of oil equivalent (MMboe) in 2024, in line with a consensus estimate of 87.9 MMboe compiled by brokerage Jarden.

However, the forecast was below 2023 production estimate, which the company maintained at 89-93 MMboe on Wednesday.

Santos had earlier flagged a substantial decline in Bayu-Undan output during the third quarter of 2023, with production anticipated to cease during the fourth quarter.

Production at Bayu-Undan started in April 2004, and Santos became its operator after acquiring the field from U.S.-based energy giant ConocoPhillips in May 2020.

"On first glance, 2024 production guidance is in line with consensus, but it includes higher PNG LNG equity levels. We expect some consensus downgrades for 2024 to come through," Jarden analysts said in a note.

Santos, which sold a stake in the PNG liquefied natural gas (LNG) project to Papua New Guinea state-owned Kumul Petroleum in September, said it would revise its 2023 guidance once the sale was completed.

The company also said it was disappointed with its recent share price performance. As of Nov. 21 close, its shares had fallen about 9.9% since Oct. 19 when the company posted a lower third-quarter revenue.

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