BHP releases operational review for quarter ended 30 September 2015

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Mining giant BHP Billiton has posted solid production growth in the first quarter of the financial year revealing that it has maintained production guidance across its four other commodities businesses.

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The company announced that it has boosted September quarter iron ore production by 7% and trimmed capital spending in oil and gas.

According to the report, BHP produced 67 million tonnes of ore in the three months to September and has attributed the increased output to the boost in operations at the Jimblebar mining hub.

BHP also said that it expects to produce 270 million tonnes of iron ore by the end of the financial year.

“BHP Billiton remains on track to meet full-year production and cost guidance after a solid operational performance this quarter. In Petroleum, we continue to reduce costs in both our Onshore US and Conventional businesses, and will meet our production targets with US$200 million less capital investment. We successfully acquired prospective oil acreage in Western Australia and the Western Gulf of Mexico and will continue to invest through the cycle to create value for shareholders,” BHP Billiton Chief Executive Officer, Andrew Mackenzie.

As far as petroleum production is concerned, the company reported a decrease by 4% to 64.5 MMboe.

Crude oil, condensate and natural gas liquids production for the September 2015 quarter decreased by 1% to 30.7 MMboe, while onshore US liquids volumes for the September 2015 quarter rose by 17% to 13.5 MMboe.

Natural gas production for the September 2015 quarter declined by 7% to 203 bcf.

“The decline primarily reflected lower Onshore US gas volumes as a result of the decision to defer development activity for longer-term value. This was partially offset by higher seasonal demand at Bass Strait,” BHP said.

Total copper production for the September 2015 quarter decreased by 3% to 377 kt as strong operating performance across the business was offset by grade decline at Escondida.

Olympic Dam copper production increased by 40% from the September 2014 quarter to 55 kt.

Production of energy coal was flat year-on-year at 9.85 million tonnes, while metallurgical coal was also flat year-on-year at 10.45 million tonnes.