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Woodside Petroleum Sales Rise 52% on Prices, Output (Update2)




Woodside Petroleum Sales Rise 52% on Prices, Output (Update2) 

By Jason Scott

July 17 (Bloomberg) — Woodside Petroleum Ltd., Australia’s second-largest oil and gas producer, said second-quarter sales jumped 52 percent to a record A$1.48 billion ($1.44 billion) on higher prices and output gains.

Production rose 14 percent from a year earlier to 19.3 million barrels of oil equivalent, the Perth-based company said today in a statement to the Australian stock exchange. Woodside retained its forecast of an increase in full-year output of as much as 22 percent.

Woodside is starting new oil fields at a time of soaring prices for the fuel. The company, 34 percent-owned by Royal Dutch Shell Plc, began production at the 50 percent-owned Stybarrow field off northwestern Australia in November and the Neptune project in the Gulf of Mexico commenced earlier this month, while the Vincent oil project, also off northwest Australia, is set to start up in August.

“It’s a strong quarter, slightly above our forecasts,” Macquarie Group Ltd. energy analyst Andrew Blakely said in a phone interview from Sydney. “Production has been very strong, particularly at Stybarrow and the North West Shelf. All in all it’s looking good for the company.”

Benchmark New York oil futures are up 82 percent from a year ago and touched a record $147.27 a barrel on July 11.

Woodside fell 33 cents, or 0.6 percent, to A$59.22 at 11:38 a.m. in Sydney trading. The stock has risen 18 percent since the start of the year.

Shutdown Planned

Woodside plans a 32-day shutdown at its North West Shelf liquefied natural gas Train 4 plant for routine maintenance from next month, it said.

Last year the company approved the A$12 billion Pluto LNG project for development, one of just three LNG projects worldwide to be sanctioned in the last three years. It is seeking gas for an expansion of the project, and has proposed LNG ventures at the Sunrise field in the Timor Sea and in the Browse Basin off the far northwest coast.

Woodside will decide whether to proceed with Sunrise by early 2009, Paul Henderson, chief minister of Australia’s Northern Territory, said in Darwin today.

The company is forecasting full-year output will increase to between 80 million and 86 million barrels of oil equivalent as new projects start up.

The liquefied natural gas market will stay “tight” until 2015 and possibly beyond, driven by rising demand and delays in supply projects, Woodside said in a June 19 presentation. The market is “buoyant” and long-term LNG contract prices are approaching the crude oil equivalent. The introduction of a price on carbon could push LNG prices beyond crude, it said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Jason Scott in Perth at[email protected]

Last Updated: July 16, 2008 21:44 EDT

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