14/05/2012 - 15:43

Woodside pursues Cyprus option

14/05/2012 - 15:43

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Woodside pursues Cyprus option

Woodside Petroleum chief executive Peter Coleman has taken the first tangible step towards his strategy of diversifying beyond the company’s big growth projects in Western Australia.

Mr Coleman used his presentation to the APPEA conference in Adelaide to announce that Woodside has formed a partnership to bid for acreage offshore Cyprus.

He has previously informed the market that Woodside would be pursuing new growth opportunities in other markets that draw on its LNG expertise, though emphasised that Australia would always be its core focus.

The diversification strategy follows a slowdown in its growth trajectory, with its Pluto 2, Browse and Sunrise projects all facing roadblocks.

Woodside’s partners in the Cyprus bid for exploration acreage are Delek (Israel), Enel (Italy) and Edison (Italy).

“This partnership combines Woodside’s core skills in deepwater exploration and LNG development with partners that have strong local knowledge and connections to European gas markets,” Mr Coleman said.

Woodside was invited to join the bidding consortium by Delek.

Meanwhile, Mr Coleman also disclosed that Woodside has added a fourth LNG tanker to its fleet, saying the move was a sign of confidence in its recently completed $14.9 billion Pluto project.

Woodside has signed a time charter of up to 20 years for the unnamed tanker.

Mr Coleman also talked up Asian demand for LNG, saying that 17 receiving terminals were being built across the Asia-Pacific region and a further 18 proposed before the end of the decade.

"There is no doubt we are facing a more competitive LNG market in our region," Mr Coleman said.

He said the prospect of LNG exports from US shale gas projects would not fundamentally change the market.

"I don't foresee these developments undermining Australian LNG projects. And I expect the oil-link will continue to underpin the majority of long-term sales into Asia."

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