Australia's Santos reports 2 pct dip in Q1 production

SYDNEY, April 19 Fri Apr 19, 2013 1:07am BST

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SYDNEY, April 19 (Reuters) - Australia's Santos Ltd , the country's No.2 energy firm, said on Thursday its production dipped 2 percent to 12.1 million barrels of oil equivalent (mmboe) in the first quarter.

Santos maintained production guidance of between 53 and 57 mmboe for 2013 and said its capital expenditure for the year would remain at $4 billion.

Gas production of 9.1 mmboe was in line with the same period a year ago, with higher Otway Basin production offset by lower production from the Cooper Basin due to major planned shutdowns.

Quarterly crude oil production of 2 million barrels was down 19 percent, partly due to lower production from Stag and the Cooper Basin.

Santos said its $19 billion Exxon Mobil -led PNG LNG project and its flagship $18.5 billion Gladstone liquefied natural gas (LNG) project are on track for first LNG in 2014 and 2015, respectively.

The Moomba-191 unconventional shale well, which became the country's first commercially producing shale gas well in September, was flowing at an average rate of 2.3 standard cubic feet per day as at the end of the quarter, the company said.

That is slightly below the average 2.5 million standard cubic feet per day it reported at the end of the year. Four new exploration wells are planned for 2013. (Reporting by Rebekah Kebede; Editing by Richard Pullin)