20/04/2017 - 09:39

Woodside continues Pluto expansion pursuit

20/04/2017 - 09:39

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Woodside Petroleum has engaged contractors to develop concept options for an expansion of the Pluto LNG facility for consideration as early as mid-year, while reporting an 11 per cent drop in March quarter revenue on the back of adverse weather and inventory build up.

Woodside continues Pluto expansion pursuit
Woodside operates the Pluto and North West Shelf Venture LNG projects. Photo: Attila Csaszar

Woodside Petroleum has engaged contractors to develop concept options for an expansion of the Pluto LNG facility for consideration as early as mid-year, while reporting an 11 per cent drop in March quarter revenue on the back of adverse weather and inventory build up.

In its recent annual report, the company flagged it would be looking to make a small to medium scale extension of the 4.9mtpa facility, lifting capacity around 20 per cent.

Those expansion studies have now commenced, first looking at accelerating reserves in the Greater Pluto region.

Woodside said the contractors were experienced in small to mid-scale LNG train technology.

Other possible projects are being reviewed, too, with the company likely to select a development concept for the Browse field later this year, and assessing options for the Scarborough field.

The company’s three major expansion projects that are already under way were all on schedule, Woodside said.

Greater Western Flank-2 was 41 per cent complete at the end of March, with five of eight wells drilled.

Greater Enfield was 18.1 per cent complete and Persephone, scheduled for production by September, was 96.5 per cent complete.

Chevron’s Wheatstone project, of which Woodside has a 13 per cent stake, was still scheduled to pipe gas in mid-2017.

Revenue down

Revenue of $US895 million was down around $215 million on December quarter 2016, with a level of inventory build up at around 0.8 million barrels of oil equivalent.

Production was 2.5mmboe lower at 21.4mmboe, in part driven by poor weather in the Pilbara including a once in 50 year rainfall event.

Additionally, a supply contract for the North West Shelf Venture, operated by Woodside, ended in the December quarter.

But production guidance for the year was steady.

Oil, LPG, pipeline gas and condensate prices were all higher, while LNG prices were up for Pluto and down at NWSV.

There was another notable detail in the company’s report.

Exploration and evaluation spending of $36.3 million in the March quarter was down dramatically from $128.6 million in March 2016.

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