Woodside considers Pluto LNG expansion

Perth-based Woodside Petroleum Ltd. is considering a plan to expand production at its Pluto LNG plant on the Burrup Peninsula in Western Australia.

Content Dam Ogj Online Articles 2017 02 Woodside Pluto Lng Plant

Perth-based Woodside Petroleum Ltd. is considering a plan to expand production at its Pluto LNG plant on the Burrup Peninsula in Western Australia.

Woodside Chief Executive Officer Peter Coleman spoke of a two-stage program designed to lift capacity at the Pluto facilities, beginning with the potential use of known, but yet-to-be developed gas resources to supply a small “off-the-shelf” LNG train attached to the existing plant. This could add 1-1.5 million tonnes/year of LNG to Pluto’s production. A lesser first option might be to debottleneck the existing plant, which could add a little less than 1 million tpy.

The second stage would be a larger expansion possibly using gas from Scarborough field on the Exmouth Plateau, operated by ExxonMobil Corp. An alternative would be to pipe gas down from the vast resources in the Browse basin fields further north. Woodside has a working interest in both the Scarborough and the Browse fields.

Content Dam Ogj Online Articles 2017 02 Woodside Pluto Lng Plant

As an adjunct to these options, Woodside plans to refocus its exploration efforts offshore Western Australia to find more gas for Pluto. The first wildcat, Swell-1, is scheduled to be spudded at midyear. A second well is earmarked for mid-2018.

A decision on the initial expansion of the 4.9 million-tpy Pluto plant will be decided in this year’s third quarter.

Woodside said Pluto LNG had achieved a record production in 2016. A targeted expansion at Pluto would add to an expected 15% growth in Woodside’s total output in the period 2017-20 from projects already sanctioned.

The company said its two major acquisitions in 2016—the interest in Scarborough and the ConocoPhillips stake in discoveries and acreage offshore Senegal—were made at an average of $1.10/bbl. Combined with earlier deals in 2015, these added more than 30 years of resources to Woodside’s portfolio.

Coleman said Woodside’s key focus will be around its existing asset base. The plan is to concentrate on projects and opportunities that will deliver value in the near to medium term.

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