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Business deals

PTTEP sells petroleum field off Australia

Jadestone Energy to pay Thai oil producer $195m for 100% stake

Montara well head platform
The Montara project, located off the Kimberley coastline of Western Australia, produces an average of 7,694 barrels per day. (Photo from PTTEP)

BANGKOK -- Thailand's PTT Exploration and Production has sold its 100% stake in the Montara petroleum field off Australia.

Company CEO Somporn Vongvuthipornchai said PTTEP Australasia (Ashmore Cartier) has signed an agreement to sell Montara's assets to Jadestone Energy (Eagle) for $195 million. The total will be adjusted depending on how much working capital the operations consume until the transaction is completed.

In 2008, PTTEP paid $170 million to gain 100% of the Montara oil development project, which involves three other fields in the Timor Sea, as well as a 70.94% interest of the nearby Jabiru and Challis oil fields. A year later, the Montara field suffered an oil spill that forced the company to spend some $2 million repairing exploration and production facilities.

Montara has since failed to generate sufficient returns.

The sale is expected to be completed this year, subject to regulatory approval from Australia's National Offshore Petroleum Titles Administrator and the National Offshore Petroleum Safety and Environmental Management Authority.

"The sale of the Montara field is in alignment with our strategic direction in increasing investments in our focused areas in Southeast Asia and the Middle East, where we have experience and expertise," Somporn said in a news release.

He added that the company is focusing on Southeast Asia and the Middle East in the belief that these regions boast relatively low cost structures and carry fewer risks. These factors, PTTEP said, could help it add more petroleum reserves and enhance long-term growth.

The Montara project is located off the Kimberley coastline of Western Australia. The field's average production volume for the first half of this year was about 7,694 barrels per day.

PTTEP is considering whether it should divest stakes in other noncore overseas assets. In this regard, Somporn mentioned the Mariana Oil Sands project in Canada, according to the Bangkok Post.

PTTEP posted a net profit of $423 million in the first quarter of 2018, up 21% from a year earlier thanks largely to rising crude oil prices.

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