Woodside Petroleum has lifted its full year targets and unveiled record production results, thanks to a better than expected performance at its Pluto operation.The oil and gas producer upgraded its full year production target to between 83 million barrels of oil equivalent (mmboe) and 86 mmboe, up from the previous range of 77 mmboe to 83 mmboe."The increase in the range is due to better than expected performance from Pluto LNG (liquefied natural gas project) and the number of contingent shutdown days being reduced from 20 to three days for the remainder of 2012," the company said in a statement.Woodside said third quarter production and revenue were at record levels, boosted by the continued reliability of its Pluto LNG project in Western Australia that started up in March.The company produced 26.5 million mmboe in the three months to September 30, up 32 per cent from the second quarter.The company's third quarter performance was helped by a greater availability of plant at the North West Shelf following planned maintenance and shutdowns in the second quarter.Woodside said it was continuing discussions with gas owners about expanding its Pluto operations.Revenue rose 28 per cent to $US1.83 billion ($A1.77 billion), production was up 65 per cent, while sales increased 39 per cent compared to the third quarter in Woodside's 2012 financial year.Chief executive Peter Coleman said the company had strong cash flows following the completion of the $US2 billion ($A1.94 billion) sale of a minority portion of Woodside's interest in the proposed Browse LNG development."Woodside's balance sheet continues to strengthen," Mr Coleman said.Woodside expects to reduce its capital and exploration expenditure in 2013 to about $US1.4 billion ($A1.36 billion), 27 per cent lower than the estimate of $US1.9 billion ($A1.84 billion) for 2012.The estimate includes forecast expenditure for the proposed Browse development in WA up until a final investment decision is made.The estimate would be updated once a decision is made.Investors were happy with the production report, sending Woodside's shares 81 cents, or 2.3 per cent, higher to $35.20.For 2013, Woodside is targeting production of 88 mmboe to 94 mmboe, with 41 per cent from the Pluto LNG project.The company is planning for eight exploration wells in 2013 and is assessing several regional and international growth opportunities.It has also agreed to a timetable with the East Timor government for a series of technical workshops about the Sunrise LNG project.Macquarie Securities analyst Adrian Wood said the production report showed a strong operational performance but that Woodside was giving nothing away on the cost or viability of its Browse project."The rising production and falling gearing levels clearly demonstrate Woodside's collapsing risk profile, with the possible exception of M&A or a further Shell selldown," Mr Wood said.He said the capital expenditure outlook for next year was broadly inline with forecasts while the production outlook appeared "conservative but highly achievable".
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