3 reasons Santos is no one-trick pony

Santos (ASX: STO), one of Australia’s largest listed oil and gas producers, has plenty going on at the moment. The Queensland GLNG project the company holds a 30% stake in is 60% completed and on track for first production in 2015, while the Oil Search (ASX: OSH) operated PNG LNG project  Santos owns 13.5% of is 90% complete.

But Santos is not a company to rest on its laurels and in the last three months has announced three new avenues of exploration investment to add growth in the years ahead.

The Cooper Basin

In July Santos announced a deal to acquire a 60% stake in two exploration permits held by Drillsearch (ASX: DLS), as well as taking on additional acreage in the Cooper Basin. The deal increases Santos’ exposure to both oil and gas in the region which is undergoing a resurgence in exploration.

The deal will involve Santos investing $100 million to $120 million into wet gas exploration, as well as entering into a purchase agreement for gas produced by Drillsearch.

The Northern Territory

In a company presentation last week at the annual South East Asia Australia Offshore Conference (SEAAOC), senior executive John Anderson announced the company plans to spend up to $320 million on onshore exploration in the Northern Territory.

And the company thinks this could be the next boom site for energy in Australia. “The Territory holds great promise for developing natural gas from shale, with estimates of nearly 200 trillion cubic feet of shale resources” Mr. Anderson told the conference. Santos’s current acreage is close to highway and pipeline infrastructure which will lower the costs to develop any energy finds.

Papua New Guinea

Capitalizing on the company’s investment in PNG LNG, Santos announced this month acquisitions in two prospective exploration permits in Western Papua New Guinea for an undisclosed sum. There are ongoing discussions over a third permit and the three sites are not too far from existing pipeline infrastructure.

Foolish takeaway

Santos is quickly increasing exposure to Australia’s rich energy regions as well as further abroad. This will help to ensure investor have sustainable growth long past the company’s two big LNG projects.

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Motley Fool contributor Regan Pearson does not own shares in any company mentioned.

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