April 3, 2018 / 2:12 AM / in 7 months

UPDATE 1-Australia's Oil Search resumes operations at Kutubu complex in Papua New Guinea

* Kutubu oil output to restart gradually through April

* Revised 2018 guidance to be released on April 17 (Adds background, share movement)

April 3 (Reuters) - Australia’s Oil Search Ltd said on Tuesday that operations have resumed at a facility closed in the wake of a major earthquake in Papua New Guinea in February, with oil output under way from a number of wells in the Kutubu field.

Production has resumed at an initial rate of about 4,000 barrels of oil per day, the company said. Oil output from the array of Kutubu complex fields is expected to be restored gradually through April.

The company said its condensate handling facilities at Kutubu, connected to a giant Papua New Guinea liquefied natural gas (LNG) project operated by Exxon Mobil, were also ready to receive LNG condensate once the project resumes gas production.

Oil Search did not give any further information about the resumption of gas production, or the status of LNG operations at Exxon’s Hides gas processing.

Exxon did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Tuesday and has previously said it expected to resume production within two months of the Feb. 26 quake.

Oil Search said it will release revised guidance for production, as well as operating and capital costs in 2018, when it reports its first-quarter results on April 17.

Shares of the oil and gas explorer dropped as much as 1.7 percent to their lowest in more than two weeks against a 0.1 percent decline in the broader market.

Reporting by Christina Martin in Bengaluru; Editing by Stephen Coates and Kenneth Maxwell

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