On­shore op­tion for Wood­side Pe­tro­leum

Pilbara News - - News - Peter Wil­liams

Wood­side Pe­tro­leum has given it­self a bet­ter shot at pro­cess­ing gas on­shore from yet-to-be de­vel­oped fields off the North West through a staged 20 per cent ex­pan­sion of the Pluto LNG plant.

The oil and gas pro­ducer is con­sid­er­ing plug­ging in a smaller “off-the-shelf” sec­ond train at the Pil­bara fa­cil­ity ca­pa­ble of adding about one mil­lion tonnes LNG a year to the first train’s 4.9 mtpa out­put.

Wood­side chief ex­ec­u­tive Peter Cole­man said the move would make a com­pelling case for on­shore pro­cess­ing of the Browse and Scar­bor­ough gas fields, which both have float­ing LNG plat­forms as their pre­ferred op­tion.

“We want to knuckle down, put all this to­gether and make the case that an on­shore devel­op­ment should be a very com­pet­i­tive case that the joint ven­ture part­ners in both those re­sources se­ri­ously con­sider,” he said.

Wood­side holds stakes in both projects and is the op­er­a­tor of Browse, whose devel­op­ment was put on ice a year ago un­til the eco­nomics stack up.

“Our pref­er­ence is to get the best com­mer­cial out­come,” Mr Cole­man said of Browse and Scar­bor­ough.

De­clin­ing to put a price tag on the Pluto ex­pan­sion, he said it would be sim­i­lar to Gulf of Mex­ico coast plant up­grades and “com­fort­ably” un­der $1000 per tonne of out­put.

“What I like about it is, we con­trol it and it’s man­age­able,” Mr Cole­man said.

“It suits the mar­ket at this point in time. We can get away a mil­lion tonnes pretty read­ily to our port­fo­lio.”

Wood­side re­ported last Wed­nes­day full-year net profit of $US868 mil­lion ($1.13 bil­lion), dwarf­ing last year’s oil price slump-af­fected $US26 mil­lion.

LNG pro­duc­tion was a record 63.7 mil­lion bar­rels of oil equiv­a­lent.

Mr Cole­man said the Chevron­op­er­ated Wheat­stone project in which Wood­side holds a 13 per cent stake would fail to meet a stretch tar­get of com­ple­tion this April but was on track for the sched­uled mid-year start.

In the wake of out­go­ing Wes­farm­ers man­ag­ing di­rec­tor Richard Goy­der’s ap­point­ment to re­place Michael Chaney as Wood­side chair­man next year, Mr Cole­man said he planned to stick around. “I can see a line of sight right out to five years,” he said. “It’s just go­ing to be sub­ject to the board and what the board thinks the right needs are.”

Chief fi­nan­cial of­fi­cer Lawrie Tre­maine said his com­ing de­par­ture to join Ori­gin En­ergy was about find­ing a new chal­lenge af­ter 10 years at Wood­side.

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