November 19, 2019 / 10:57 PM / 16 days ago

UPDATE 1-Origin Energy seeks to expand Australian onshore exploration, lifts APLNG outlook

(Recasts, adds detail on Beetaloo in paragraph 2 and energy markets outlook)

Nov 20 (Reuters) - Energy retailer Origin Energy on Wednesday said it was actively looking to expand its Australian onshore exploration efforts, while signaling higher output for its Australia Pacific LNG project.

Origin, which has begun drilling in the Beetaloo Basin in the Northern Territory, said exploration was progressing well and that first results were expected in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2020.

The Sydney-based firm increased its fiscal 2020 production guidance from its stake in Australia Pacific LNG to around 690 to 710 petajoules (PJ), compared to its earlier forecast of 680 to 700 (PJ).

APLNG, the biggest producer of liquefied natural gas in eastern Australia, is a joint venture between Origin, ConocoPhillips and China's Sinopec.

Strong production at APLNG has helped Origin weather weakness in its energy business, which has been hit by stiff competition and the government's move to introduce retail power price caps.

Origin said in an investor briefing that it was targeting to maintain strong production performance at APLNG over the next 3 to 5 years, with potential to increase production further by utilizing spare upstream capacity.

Meanwhile, the company also revised its underlying core earnings guidance for its energy markets due to the adoption of an accounting standard, adding that while its energy markets faces headwinds, earnings are relatively stable. (Reporting by Shriya Ramakrishnan in Bengaluru Editing by Chris Reese and Grant McCool)

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