Wednesday, 23 January 2013 09:30
BHP Billiton has posted another record six months of iron ore production, with the six months to 31 December slightly better than analysts had expected, and the company also increased its production of oil, gas and copper.
BHP produced 81.96 million tonnes of iron ore at its Western Australian operations in the six months to December 31, up two per cent on the same period in the previous year.
The company maintained its forecast of full year iron ore production of 183 million tonnes.
CMC Markets chief strategist Michael McCarthy said BHP's production report was encouraging.
"It wasn't a shoot the lights out result," he told reporters.
"It was a steady strong performance with good gains in the key divisions of copper, energy and iron ore."
Oil and gas production rose significantly in the six months to December, due to growth in BHP's operations in the United States.
Total petroleum production was 121.15 million barrels of oil equivalent (mmboe), up 11 per cent from the previous corresponding period.
Natural gas production in the six months to December increased by 15 per cent from the same period in the previous year, while crude oil production rose by four per cent.
Copper production totalled 569,100 tonnes in the six months to December, up 14 per cent from the previous corresponding period.
City Index chief market analyst Peter Esho said the production figures were "rock solid".
"I think if spot prices for their (BHP Billiton's) key commodities remain at current levels there will be a significant upgrades after the company reports (its financial results) in February," Mr Esho said.
"Iron ore is very strong, petroleum is in line, and they have re-affirmed guidance.
"There's more balance coming into the business, with improvements in copper.
"Coal perhaps has room for improvement, but the other gains make up for any ground lost there."
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