Rough weather curbed output for Australia's Woodside

Woodside said it was fortunate that a series of cyclones curbed output at a key facility by only 5 percent.
By Daniel J. Graeber Follow @dan_graeber Contact the Author   |   April 20, 2017 at 8:00 AM
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April 20 (UPI) -- It was inclement weather, not necessarily market conditions, that left a black mark on first quarter performance, Australian energy company Woodside said.

Woodside reported production for the three months ending March 31 at 21.4 million barrels of oil equivalent, down about 10 percent from last year. Cyclones and torrential rains pounded the region this year and the company said it was fortunate that output from its Pluto liquefied natural gas project in Western Australia was down only 5 percent "given the significant weather impacts experienced during the quarter."

Woodside struggled through last year's market downturn and reported total operating revenue down about 8 percent from last year. The price for oil and gas, however, has rebounded sharply from the fourth quarter and the company said it was keeping its guidance in place on the expected momentum.

"We continue to work with the Wheatstone operator on final onshore and offshore commissioning activities ahead of expected first LNG mid-year," Woodside CEO Peter Coleman said in a statement.

Wheatstone is among the focal points for Woodside in the Australian market. The company is working on the project alongside U.S. energy company Chevron.

The higher market prices for energy this year, which for oil is up more than $20 per barrel from the 2016 bottom, pushed the value of LNG exports for Australia in the fourth quarter to record levels. Coleman last year blamed a weak revenue stream on the three-month lag in the price for LNG compared with crude oil.

Weak market conditions in early 2016 forced it to put a hold on the development of its Browse liquefied natural gas project, a $50 billion facility.

Drawing on a global portfolio, the company said it executed sales and purchase agreements for more than a dozen cargoes of LNG for delivery between 2017 and 2019.

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