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UPDATE 1-Australia's Santos posts 9% revenue rise, sees higher LNG prices in Q2

(Adds background, CEO quote)

April 22 (Reuters) - Australian gas producer Santos Ltd on Thursday posted a 9.2% rise in first-quarter revenue, helped by firmer commodity markets as global economies recover from last year’s pandemic lows, and forecast stronger LNG prices for the second quarter.

Easing curbs and increasing energy demand in the last few months have lifted commodity prices after the COVID-19 outbreak battered energy markets in 2020. LNG prices hit a record high in January this year.

“Business benefited from higher commodity prices and a low free cash flow breakeven oil price. This was despite the 3-month lag in oil-linked LNG prices, which should see stronger prices in the second quarter,” CEO Kevin Gallagher said.

However, average sales prices for its liquefied natural gas (LNG) during the quarter fell to $6.12 per metric million British thermal units (mmBtu) from $8.88 per mmBtu a year earlier.

Santos said it produced 24.8 million barrels of oil equivalent (mmboe) during the period, up from 17.9 mmboe last year, narrowly beating the RBC estimate of 24.4 mmboe.

The company’s revenue rose to $964 million from $883 million a year earlier but missed an RBC estimate of $1.05 billion. (Reporting by Arundhati Dutta in Bengaluru; Editing by Ramakrishnan M.)

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