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Woodside CEO Says Growth Options Intact After Israel Deal

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Woodside CEO Says Growth Options Intact After Israel Deal

PERTH - Woodside Petroleum Ltd. said Tuesday its offshore expansion plans remain intact following its purchase of a stake in a large natural gas field off Israel's coast, despite concerns the deal could see it blacklisted in other parts of the Middle East. 

"Woodside's current footprint doesn't take us into some of the neighboring states around Israel, so we don't see it in anyway affecting us, either in the short-term or mid-term," Peter Coleman, Woodside's chief executive, told reporters on the sidelines of an industry conference.

Woodside is scouring the world for opportunities after a large hole opened up in its production profile following the successful start-up of its 14.9 billion Australian dollar (US$15.6 billion) Pluto liquefied natural gas project in Western Australia state. A disappointing exploration campaign nearby has stymied hopes of adding another processing train there.

Woodside said Dec. 3 it has struck a deal worth more than US$1.2 billion to take part in the development of the Leviathan gas field, positioning the company as operator of any liquefied natural gas, or LNG, operations in the Mediterranean Sea.

While some other oil and gas companies may have chosen not to invest in Israel due to "perceived barriers", Woodside was able to submit a competitive offer for its 30% stake in Leviathan, Mr. Coleman said.

In addition to the Mediterranean, Woodside is keen to expand its footprint in Southeast Asia. The company said Monday that it will acquire a stake in a second exploration license offshore Myanmar, while the group is also studying assets in several other countries. 

Copyright (c) 2012 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.

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