October 20, 2016 / 2:53 AM / 2 years ago

UPDATE 1-Woodside sees deal activity picking up in oil and gas

* Woodside still looking for acquisitions within $1 bln

* Chasing oil stakes with production within 0-5 years (Adds CFO comments)

By Sonali Paul

MELBOURNE, Oct 20 (Reuters) - The environment for getting deals done in oil and gas is better now than it was a year ago as sellers have lowered their expectations, Woodside Petroleum’s Chief Financial Officer Lawrie Tremaine said on Thursday.

Woodside, Australia’s biggest independent oil and gas producer, has announced two deals over the past four months together worth up to $830 million, picking up stakes in a major oil find off Senegal and undeveloped gas fields off Australia.

It is working on more deals within the $1 billion range, Tremaine said.

“We’re out there working M&A. We think the environment’s probably a little more positive today than it was 12 months ago,” he told Reuters in an interview.

“My view is that price expectations of sellers have come in a little bit, and so we’re starting to see some deals actually get done, with Senegal and Scarborough being two good examples of that.”

Tremaine declined to comment on whether Woodside would look at picking up a stake in a Malaysian liquefied natural gas plant that Royal Dutch Shell is reported to be selling, or whether it would be interested in teaming up with Karoon Gas to acquire stakes in the Bauna and Tartaruga Verde oil fields off Brazil.

However he said boosting the company’s oil reserves through acquisitions remains a priority, especially as Woodside sees global oil markets going into deficit in the long term.

“We’re focused on near term production in that zero to five year (timeframe). So if something delivers in that range it’ll probably be of interest to us, particularly if it’s oil,” Tremaine said.

Brazil’s Petrobras announced this month that it was in talks with Karoon Gas to sell its 100 percent stake in the Bauna field, which is already producing, and a 50 percent stake in the deepwater Tartaruga Verde project.

Reporting by Sonali Paul; Editing by Richard Pullin

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