Australia's Santos Ltd. reported a 14% rise in sales revenue for the first quarter of 2017 on April 20, bolstered by a sharp increase in oil prices. The company also cut its breakeven costs further and made more progress on cutting debt.

Santos said its free cash flow breakeven has been cut to $34 per barrel (bbl), down 28% since the start of last year.

Revenue rose to $684 million in the March quarter from $600 million a year earlier, as average realized oil prices shot up by 56% to $57.60/bbl, offsetting a 13% drop in sales volumes to 18.6 MMboe.

Sales revenue beat a forecast of $643 million from Royal Bank of Canada, while the sales volume was roughly in line with RBC analysts' estimate.

While overall production fell, Santos highlighted an improvement at its troubled Gladstone LNG project, with gas volumes sold to the LNG plant jumping nearly 28%.

Santos cut net debt by $500 million from the end of last year to $3.1 billion, making progress on its target to reduce net debt by $1.5 billion by the end of 2019.