Woodside puts brakes on Browse LNG development

THE BOURSE WHISPERER: Western Australian premier Colin Barnett said he didn’t know yesterday, however LNG developer Woodside ensured his awakening this morning would have been of the rude variety.

The news greeting the Premier this morning was that Woodside has completed technical and commercial evaluation of the proposed Browse LNG Development near James Price Point and decided the development doesn’t fit its money-making schemes at this stage.

“Woodside has…determined that the development concept does not meet the company’s commercial requirements for a positive final investment decision,” Woodside said in its ASX announcement.

The announcement appears to have caught Barnett offside, considering his response to Opposition Leader Mark McGowan’s questioning yesterday if he had been told in the past week from the Joint Venture partners that the project would not proceed.

“I have not received advice to that effect from the joint venture partners at all. At all,” Barnett told the WA parliament.

Barnett told parliament the Joint Venture partners had until the end of June to make a final investment decision.

“I have continuous discussion with Woodside and it’s not for me to comment publicly, particularly to market sensitive information on what decisions might be,” he said.

It was reported in The West Australian both the Western Australian and Federal Governments had been informed by Woodside of its decision before the announcement was released.

Woodside said the evaluation was completed in line with the conditions of the Browse Retention Leases.

The company explained a tender evaluation was recently completed for all upstream and downstream scopes of work, which showed the development would not deliver the required commercial returns to support it making a positive final investment decision.

Woodside said it would now engage with the Browse Joint Venture to recommend evaluation of other development concepts to commercialise the Browse resources.

These could include floating technologies, a pipeline to existing LNG facilities in the Pilbara or a smaller onshore option at the proposed Browse LNG Precinct near James Price Point.