SYDNEY, Dec 16 (Reuters) - Woodside Petroleum Ltd said on Tuesday it was postponing an investment decision on whether to proceed with development of the Browse floating liquefied natural gas project off the coast of Australia due to low oil prices.
Australia's top oil and gas producer had expected to make a final investment decision on the joint venture project, estimated by analysts to cost up to $40 billion, in mid 2015 but it has now postponed that decision to mid 2016.
Woodside Chief Executive Peter Coleman said the company would seek to use the 40 percent slide in oil prices so far this year to lower construction costs.
"The changes we are experiencing in our industry are starting to flow through our supply chain," Coleman said. "We will use the time we now have to maximise long-term economic benefits for the development."
Woodside last year pulled plans to build processing facilities onshore, opting to study a cheaper floating facility concept using partner Royal Dutch Shell's Prelude FLNG plant as a model.
Woodside, which competes with companies like Anadarko Petroleum, BG, ConocoPhillips and Norway's Statoil, is also making a push into exploration, hunting in unexplored basins and building up oil reserves to balance its strong gas reserves.
Earlier on Tuesday, Apache Corp said it would sell its stakes in two LNG projects, Wheatstone LNG in Australia and Kitimat LNG in Canada, to Woodside for $2.75 billion.
(Reporting by James Regan; Editing by Ed Davies)
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