By Robb M. Stewart
MELBOURNE, Australia--Woodside Petroleum production and sales rebounded in the latest quarter from an extended shutdown of one of its big liquefied natural gas operations in Western Australia.
Woodside, Australia's biggest independent oil and gas producer, said sales revenue totalled US$1.16 billion in the third quarter, a jump of 58% on US$738 million in the prior quarter and up 0.6% on a year earlier.
Production for the period was 44% higher than in the second quarter, at 24.9 million barrels of oil equivalent, and 7.8% higher than the same quarter last year with record output from Woodside's Pluto LNG operation and with first oil produced at its Greater Enfield project.
The bulk of Woodside's earnings are driven by LNG operations in Western Australia where the company runs the North West Shelf project that has been producing since 1984 and the Pluto LNG plant that began producing in 2012. Woodside also has a stake in Chevron Wheatstone LNG venture in Western Australia, which began exporting in 2017 and started shipping volumes from a second production line in mid-2018.
The company's first-half profit slumped by 23% after it was hit by an extended maintenance shutdown at Pluto LNG, as well disruptions due to cyclones off Australia. Woodside has flagged 2019 output is expected to be at the lower end of a range between 88 million and 94 million barrels, after it grew by 8% last year to 91.4 million barrels.
Chief Executive Peter Coleman said the Pluto operation was performing strongly and showing solid reliability after its restart, while growth from Greater Enfield was expected to be a key contributor to growing production over the next year.
After working to rebuild its resources in recent years, the Perth-based company is focused on undeveloped gas fields off Western Australia and linking the Pluto and North West Shelf plants on the coast to create a hub that it expects will help it more than double its production by 2027. It has set a target of about 100 million barrels a year in 2020 in anticipation of tightening supplies across the industry and continued demand growth from countries including China.
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