Echo Energy plc (LON:ECHO), the Latin American focused upstream oil and gas company, has today provided an operational and commercial update regarding its Santa Cruz Sur assets, onshore Argentina, for the quarterly period ended 31 March 2021.
Daily operations in the field at Santa Cruz Sur continue with the delivery of produced gas to customers as expected and without interruption. Production over the period from 1 January 2021 to 31 March 2021 reached an aggregate of 152,673 boe net to Echo, which included 17,814 bbls of oil and condensate and 809 mmscf of gas.
As a result of a series of optimisation activities being implemented in the field around the current production, average net daily liquids production in March 2021 increased to 230 bbls/d, a 24% increase over production in February 2021.
The Company is pleased to confirm that the materials required for the infrastructure upgrades of 23 km of pipeline, announced on 24 February 2021, are now being fabricated by the supplier in Buenos Aires following contract execution and the installation schedule remains in line with that announcement.
Domestic energy demand in Argentina has continued to improve through 2021 to date and the Company has recently sold a significant domestic cargo of 8,812 bbls of oil net to Echo, at the Punta Loyola terminal, with a price linked to the Brent benchmark subject to typical local discount. Following this sale, net oil stock at the Punta Loyola terminal (excluding inventory in field tanks) is currently 4,237 bbls.
Following the Company’s announcement of 24 March 2021, relating to new gas sales contracts for 2021-2022, the Company has now agreed summer and winter pricing for its annual industrial clients, with the contracted winter premium providing substantially increased cashflow in the near term for future operations and production enhancement work programmes. For the committed production over the key southern winter period (May to September), the Company will sell natural gas at an average price of $3.52 per mmbtu, which compares to $1.35 per mmbtu for industrial clients the previous year.
Martin Hull, Chief Executive Officer of Echo Energy, commented:
“Advancing into 2021, Echo has been set on optimising its existing production portfolio and low-risk development upside across the Santa Cruz Sur asset base. The benefits of these earlier efforts are now being seen. Additionally, I am pleased to report that Echo continues to benefit from increasingly strong local energy demand and pricing, which has led us to obtaining premium seasonal pricing to current prevailing spot market prices, and more than double the price of the previous winter period. Against this improving domestic energy price backdrop, we have also executed a significant domestic oil cargo sale which marks an important milestone linked to the improved economic outlook.
Furthermore, we are pleased with the progress we are making on our production optimisation activities across Santa Cruz Sur. Liquids production has recently increased in advance of the upgrades to the 23 km pipeline infrastructure which are progressing at pace. These upgrades will not only unlock previously shut-in liquids production but will also provide additional capacity with which to open up future incremental enhancement projects that have already been identified.”