BG Group Plc: The £40bn Oil & Gas Tiddler
After a difficult 12 months, BG Group (LSE: BG) (NASDAQOTH: BRGYY.US) unveils its new long-term strategy today. The company is getting back to its roots as a small and nimble explorer, while also focusing on the high growth rates predicted for liquefied natural gas (LNG).
A full presentation will be given at noon on Tuesday, but BG Group issued a short statement this morning outlining its intentions.
Exploration and concentration
Exploration spend will be boosted to $1.8bn a year over the next three years, and BG Group plans to manage its portfolio of assets more actively, seeking partners and disposals where deemed appropriate.
The eventual aim is to create a portfolio of "10-15 high quality, material assets", with capital recycled into early stages projects or returned to shareholders.
Under the new plan, capital expenditure is expected to fall to $8-10bn a year from 2015, down from the current level of $12bn, with positive free cash flow predicted from that point.
LNG demand is expected to grow at 9% a year, and BG Group already has a huge project in Australia that is on track to start production next year. This, along with its exploration of offshore Brazil, will continue to be the key two growth drivers of production across the whole group.
BG Group still reckons it will produce around 630-660,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day for 2013, and it is targeting a range of 775-825,000 barrels a day for 2015.
Dividends are expected to rise broadly in line with earnings growth, although the current yield is less than 2%.
The share price response was fairly muted this morning, with BG Group climbing by 1% to 1,195p. However, investors are probably waiting for the presentation to add some meat to the overall plan.
So far, I'd say this feels more like a change of course than a reinvention of the business, but that seems pretty sensible given the long-term success BG Group has enjoyed. The departure of the previous CEO, Sir Frank Chapman, was also likely to lead to some change in direction. That said, whether a company valued at £40bn can still be small and nimble enough to exploit the best opportunities in this space remains to be seen.
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