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Woodside bullish on Australian Pluto LNG expansion prospect

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Reuters are reporting that Woodside Petroleum expects to reveal plans for expanding its prized Pluto LNG project and connecting it to the North-West Shelf LNG complex soon.

Talks with the owners of the Scarborough gas resource off Western Australia, led by ExxonMobil Corp, as well as drilling of an exploration well, Ferrand-A, around March, and other tie-ins could help underpin the expansion.

Some analysts had speculated that recent drilling disappointment on Woodside’s Swell exploration well could limit any expansion.

Woodside said in its December quarter report on 18 January that it has looked at a range of options for expanding Pluto LNG by up to 1.5 million tpy.

The plant, 90% owned by Woodside, produced at a rate of 5.1 million tpy in the final quarter of 2017 and accounted for nearly half the company’s annual revenue.

Pluto, Wheatstone – run by Chevron Corp – and the North West Shelf, Australia’s biggest LNG plant – run by Woodside – are all candidates for processing gas from a number of undeveloped assets off Western Australia, either for expansions or for supplying gas when their existing fields dry up.

Woodside is still targeting growth in Myanmar, where it discovered gas last year and expects to drill three wells this year, starting around March or April.

One of the wells will be off the troubled state of Rakhine, where it co-owns acreage with China’s CNPC International.

Woodside is in talks with the government on fiscal terms for developing its discoveries in its southern hub off Myanmar, including development concepts and pricing of gas needed to underpin the development.

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