Woodside board approves Pluto LNG projects

Woodside Petroleum Ltd.'s board has approved development of the Pluto LNG project, which will be based on gas supply from the company's Pluto and Xena gas fields in permit WA-350-P offshore Western Australia.

Offshore staff

PERTH, Western Australia -- Woodside Petroleum Ltd.'s board has approved development of the Pluto LNG project, which will be based on gas supply from the company's Pluto and Xena gas fields in permit WA-350-P offshore Western Australia.

The board has approved additional funding of up to $9.5 billion for the project, having already spent $675.58 million on the Pluto field and associated LNG project to date.

The initial phase will include a single 4.8 million metric ton (5.3 ton) per annum LNG production train connected by a 180-km (112-mi), 36-in. (91-cm) offshore pipeline to a platform in 85 m (279 ft) of water.

Woodside says the Pluto field will produce first gas from in late 2010 from a platform connected to five subsea wells. The estimated combined dry gas volume for the Pluto and Xena fields is 5 tcf.

Environmental approvals are expected soon from the state and Commonwealth governments for the project, Woodside says, adding that approvals will need to be obtained by Sept. 2007 to enable the schedule to be satisfied.

Woodside is to form a joint venture with Tokyo Gas and Kansai Electric, giving each of them 5% equity in the Pluto permit (WA-350-P) and the Pluto train 1 infrastructure and reducing Woodside's ownership to 90%. Additionally, Tokyo Gas and Kansai Electric have options to participate in two other Pluto trains and three Woodside exploration permits (WA-347-P, WA-348-P and WA-353-P) at 5% of Woodside's interest.

Woodside's board also has given approval to begin studies on expanding LNG capacity by adding a second and third train, and a domestic gas facility to supply the Western Australia market. The size of subsequent LNG trains and the technology to be used will be evaluated during the study.

8/1/2007

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