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Australia's Woodside to raise funds for oil and gas projects

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According to Reuters, Woodside Petroleum is set to raise AUS$2.5 billion to fund the purchase of ExxonMobil's stake in the Scarborough gas field and to support projects at home and in West Africa.

The move places Woodside in a far better position to develop the Scarborough field off Western Australia. The company will hold a 75% stake and consequently take over the running of the project, now estimated to cost up to US$9.7 billion. Woodside's share of that cost would be up to US$7.9 billion.

Taking this action into account, analysts are concerned that despite this fund raising, the company may have to return to investors in a few years to add further funds to the development of Scarborough; in addition to the competing Browse LNG project.

The company recently announced that it was pushing out a final investment decision on the Browse LNG project off Western Australia to 2021 (two years later than last reported). The project is now estimated to cost US$15 billion.

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