Woodside's Net Profit Leaps to $2.98B on Strong Delivery from Pluto

Woodside Petroleum reported Wednesday a full-year net profit of $2.98 billion in the 12 months ended Dec. 31, up 97.9 percent from a year earlier.

The company, in its earnings statement, said that reliable production from its flagship Pluto project offshore Western Australia – started up in April last year – is the major contributing factor to its positive result.

"Pluto played a significant role in [the company's] profit result. The project contributed revenues of $1.4 billion and a gross profit of $642 million, for a part of year operations," Woodside's CEO & Managing Director Peter Coleman, said in a statement.

Woodside revealed Wednesday that it is moving ahead with the Browse LNG project, offshore Western Australia, as well as the Sunrise floating LNG venture in the Timor Sea. The company noted that it is in the midst of evaluating tender bids for onshore and offshore infrastructure for the Browse LNG project, while development for the Sunrise project is still in an early stage.

"At Browse, we continue to take a disciplined approach to the assessment of tender bids for offshore and onshore infrastructure to be in a position to consider a final investment decision by the end of June,"  Coleman noted.

"Onto Sunrise, we have had a number of productive technical engagements with the Timor-Leste Government in recent months. Although this engagement does not represent any agreement at this stage, we continue to build on dialogue with both governments to agree on a development which satisfies the requirements of all parties," Coleman added.

Woodside is also making a series of bold bets on projects in Israel and Myanmar.

The company reached an in-principle agreement in December last year to acquire a 30 percent participating interest in the 349/Rachel and 350/Amit petroleum licenses, which contain the mammoth Leviathan gas field offshore Israel.

"We are working with the Leviathan joint venture to finalize the agreement. This year, we also expect to be in a position to consider a final investment decision on a domestic gas development for the Leviathan field," Coleman disclosed.

In the fourth quarter of last year, Woodside's offers to acquire an interest in blocks AD-7 and A-6, offshore Myanmar; were also accepted. Entry into the blocks gives Woodside the opportunity to acquire 3D seismic in 2013/14, with options to drill exploration wells in subsequent exploration periods. AD-7 is operated by South Korea's Daewoo, while A-6 is operated by India's MRPL E&P.

"With potential investment spending at Browse and Leviathan, we have maintained $4.1 billion of available funds in the form of cash and undrawn debt facilities. The balance sheet is well positioned to support growth," Woodside's Executive Vice President and CFO Lawrie Tremaine, detailed his address focused on the company's funding facilities.

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