Woodside Petroleum (ASX: WPL ) reported its first quarter (1Q) results today for the 3 months ending 31 March 2012 and importantly updated the market on its progress with its $15 billion Pluto Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) project.
WPL achieved key milestones during the 1Q including the commissioning of the Pluto LNG plant and first gas entered the processing train on 22 March, and Pluto is expected to produce LNG in the coming days.
Pluto’s LNG will significantly boost WPL’s annual production and is expected to contribute 17 to 21 million barrels of oil equivalent to its 2012 production, in line with previous guidance. Full year 2012 full-year production is expected to be 73 to 81 MMboe.
WPL’s 1Q sales revenues was up 20% compared to 1Q2011 and production volumes were 10% lower, meaning the stronger revenues were due to higher realised prices and timing of cargoes. During the 1Q Tropical Cyclones Heidi, Iggy and Lua also disrupted operations which negatively affected volumes.
WPL has been under pressure in recent months after delays with Pluto but it looks like Pluto LNG is finally about to be delivered. Pluto should be the next positive catalyst for the share price as WPL sells down other investments to further fund expansion at Pluto.
About Woodside Petroleum: WPL is Australia's largest listed oil and gas exploration and production company and ranks as one of the world's leading producers of liquefied natural gas (LNG). WPL supplies LNG to Japan, China, Korea and the Asia Pacific region and its Pluto LNG project will see further growth in LNG production. WPL operates Australia’s North West Shelf Project, off the coast of Western Australia, which is Australia’s largest oil and gas resource providing 40% of Australia’s oil and gas production.
Status: GROWTH BUY
WPL’s shares today traded at $34.91
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