Woodside Petroleum expecting third quarter recovery

PERTH, Australia, Australian energy company Woodside said it was posting lower revenues for the second quarter because of a lag-time in product price recovery.

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Woodside Petroleum said its production year-on-year was up about 10 percent in part because of successful operations at its Pluto liquefied natural gas project in Western Australia, though second quarter revenue was down 8.1 percent.

Peter Coleman, the chief executive officer at Australia’s largest independent oil and gas producer, said the weak revenue stream was a reflection of a three-month lag in the price for LNG compared with crude oil.

“We will see higher realized LNG contract prices reflected in the third quarter,” he said in a statement. “Our strong operating cash flow and balance sheet will continue to support business growth opportunities.”

Crude oil prices plummeted below $30 per barrel in early 2016, but have since recovered to around the mid- to upper-$40 range. The price for the global benchmark Brent is 8.5 percent higher than three months ago.

Australian rival BHP Billiton this week said its spending on petroleum-based exploration and production was lower because of lingering market weakness. The company reported total petroleum production for the fiscal year ending June 30 is down by 6 percent to 240 million barrels of oil equivalent and is expected to drop off to as low as 200 million boe in the 2017 fiscal year.

Woodside in February acquired a 65 percent interest in a production sharing contract offshore Senegal and Guinea-Bissau from Impact Oil & Gas for an undisclosed sum. Last month if moved deeper into Senegalese waters with a similar deal with Conoco Phillips.

Woodside said early this year that, even with front-end engineering and design work completed, weak economic and market conditions meant it was necessary to put a hold on the $50 billion Browse LNG facility.

Coleman at the time said discipline was needed in the era of lower crude oil prices, with patience trumping short-term growth ambitions.

By Daniel J. Graeber