Woodside Starts LNG Production at Pluto Development in Australia
Tuesday, 01 May 2012 | 00:00
Woodside Petroleum Ltd. (WPL), Australia’s second-biggest oil producer, started producing liquefied natural gas at its A$14.9 billion ($15.6 billion) Pluto project after a delay of more than a year.
The first cargo of LNG will soon be loaded for shipment, Perth-based Woodside said today in a statement. Woodside last year increased Pluto’s estimated cost for the third time in 19 months and delayed the target for exports by six additional months to March 2012.
Pluto, approved by Woodside in 2007, becomes Australia’s third LNG project after the Woodside-led North West Shelf venture and ConocoPhillips’ Darwin LNG plant. Seven more LNG projects planned by companies, including Chevron Corp. (CVX) and Royal Dutch Shell Plc (RDSA), are being developed in Australia.
“Pluto cements Woodside’s position as a major supplier of LNG to the Asia-Pacific region,” the company said today.
The Woodside project may help Australia surpass Qatar as the world’s biggest LNG supplier by the end of the decade, although the proposed developments in Australia face rising construction costs and increasing supply competition.
Pluto is set to contribute an equivalent of 17 million to 21 million barrels of oil to Woodside’s production this year and eventually deliver an average of 37 million barrels of oil equivalent to annual output, Woodside said in March. Woodside on April 19 maintained its target of producing 73 million to 81 million barrels of oil equivalent in 2012.
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