Analysts still concerned over gas supply for GLNG project

AN end-of-year briefing by LNG developer Santos has failed to allay some investor concerns over the $20bn Curtis Island gas export project, with fresh doubts aired over development costs and gas supply.

News Ltd reports Credit Suisse analysts say the Santos-led GLNG project may need to buy more than a third of its required gas from third parties and is facing a $US3bn-plus cost blowout.

The downbeat assessment, which resulted in a Santos valuation cut from the bank, comes after chief executive David Knox and his direct reports delivered a five-hour investor briefing on December 4 that confirmed the project was on budget and set to meet its scheduled 2015 target for first LNG exports.

Mr Knox has always said that third-party gas purchases would be needed by the project, whose coal-seam gas reserves will not cover the needs of the two LNG production trains being built on Gladstone's Curtis Island. But he has not revealed how much.

"Huge uncertainty remains on third-party gas needs," Credit Suisse analyst Mark Samter said.

Credit Suisse is now forecasting the project will need to purchase 35 per cent of its gas, up from a previous forecast of 25 per cent.

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