PTTEP profit up 11%

PTTEP profit up 11%

PTT Exploration & Production (PTTEP), Thailand's biggest publicly traded oil and gas explorer, reported a profit that exceeded most analysts' estimates in the first quarter as prices and sales volume increased.

Net income rose 11% to 20.3 billion baht (US$693 million), or 5.08 baht per share, from 18.3 billion baht, or a restated 5.51 baht, in the same period a year earlier, the company said on Monday. That compared with the 16.01 billion baht average estimate of 10 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg.

Chief executive officer Tevin Vongvanich at the weekend said the explorer plans to sell $1 billion of bonds this year to fund expansion and repay debt. The funds will help the company meet a production target of about 900,000 barrels of oil equivalent a day by 2020, up from 340,000 barrels, he said.

Revenue totaled 56.8 billion baht in the first quarter, compared with 50.4 billion a year earlier. Expenses rose 13% to 27.9 billion baht, the Bangkok-based company said.

Average sales volume jumped 15% in the quarter to 291,476 barrels of oil equivalent a day, buoyed by increased production from the Bongkot and S1 projects in Thailand and Block 16-1 in Vietnam, the company said in a separate statement. Average product prices in the period rose 3.5% to $67.03 a barrel, it said.

Thailand's energy imports will benefit from "the economic slowdown in China, one of the largest oil consumers, and the strengthening Thai baht," PTT Exploration said, adding that it will closely monitor economic changes and revise its investments if needed.

The company, which has 44 oil and gas projects worldwide, raised about $3 billion in December in Thailand's largest ever equity offering to finance its purchase of Cove Energy Plc, which gave it a stake in assets near East Africa.

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