The Courier-Mail

Santos boss calls it quits

- JOHN McCARTHY

SANTOS boss David Knox will stand aside as chief executive after the company posted a huge slump in its half-year earnings.

The company reported an 82 per cent fall to $37 million after oil prices almost halved and has signalled a potential asset selloff may result from a strategic review.

“In light of the continuing pressure on the Santos share price, the board has decided to conduct a full strategic review to examine all options to restore and maximise shareholde­r value,’’ Santos said in its profit statement.

No outcome has been ruled out. The Queensland gas pipeline will be an option for sale after QGC sold its pipeline for $US5 billion ($6.8 million).

It has been a difficult year for the company, which had sacked 565 staff and severed contracts with about 1000 others.

But its GLNG project on Curtis Island is in line with budget and will deliver its first gas in September, compared with the Origin APLNG project, which this week announced a $500 million blow-out and a further delay until December.

The decision by Mr Knox (pictured) to stand aside after seven years means Peter Coates will upgrade his role to executive chairman. “We are on track to deliver our 2015 target of $180 million in gross supply chain savings,” he said.

Production was up 13 per cent to 28.3 million barrels of oil equivalent. Unit production cost were down by 11 per cent and capital expenditur­e fell 55 per cent.

Santos will pay a 15 interim dividend, fully-franked. Its shares closed 1

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