Talisman Strikes Oil in Vietnam


Canadian energy explorer, Talisman Energy Inc. (TLM) recently declared first oil production from fields at the Hai Su Trang (HST) and Hai Su Den (:HSD) development, located offshore Vietnam.

The HST and HSD development consists of two offshore oil fields within block 15-2/01, on the western edge of Vietnam's prolific Cuu Long basin. The operator of the said block is Thang Long Joint Operating Company (:TLJOC) in which Talisman holds a 60% working interest, with the remaining 40% being controlled by PetroVietnam Production Exploration Corporation.

The development is located 75 kilometers offshore Southern Vietnam in water depths of about 45 meters. It comprises two wellhead platforms which are attached to the existing Te Giac Trang FPSO. At HST, two wells were drilled, finished and attached and at HSD two earlier drilled wells were completed and attached by TLJOC.

Once the facilities are totally commissioned, Talisman expects gross production of 15,000 barrels per day. Management at Talisman believes that this development will help the company in achieving its regional and corporate goal of adding near-term, high-margin liquids volumes and related cash flow.

We like Talisman for its solid base business in Western Canada and in the U.K. North Sea, while offering exposure to some of the most prospective unconventional natural gas plays in North America and high-impact exploration prospects worldwide.

However, Talisman reported weak first-quarter 2013 results due to lower oil and liquids price realizations. The company announced loss per share from continuing operations (excluding non-operating items) of 6 cents against the Zacks Consensus Estimate for a profit of 4 cents.

Talisman currently retains a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold), implying that it is expected to perform in line with the broader U.S. equity market over the next one to three months.

Meanwhile, there are certain other Canadian exploration and production firms that are expected to perform better in the short term. These include ARC Resources Ltd. (AETUF) as well as Enerplus Corporation (ERF) with Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) and Gastar Exploration Ltd (GST) with Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

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