Woodside Energy Ltd. has begun planning a new liquefied natural gas project in Western Australia,
based on its 100%-owned Pluto gas field.
The Pluto field, which was discovered by Woodside in April this year in permit WA-350-P, is about
190 kilometers northwest of Karratha and 90 kilometers west of the Woodside-operated Goodwyn
production platform on the North West Shelf.
Woodside's Chief Executive Officer, Don Voelte, said Woodside had intensified and accelerated its
studies and appraisal program to commercialize Pluto due to a forecast strong LNG demand window
opening between 2010 and 2012 in the Asia-Pacific and North America.
"Our 100% ownership of the field will enable fast yet rigorous decision making," Mr. Voelte said.
"We are now confident that we have sufficient gas to justify an LNG plant with a capacity of five to
seven million tons a year to create enduring value for Woodside's shareholders and for the
citizens of Australia.
"Woodside's core competencies in LNG project management and operations on the North West
Shelf provide the key ingredients for meeting the market window for LNG supplies at the end of this
Mr. Voelte said that established customers in Asia and potential customers in North America had
shown strong interest in Pluto because of its potential size, its commercial flexibility due to
Woodside's 100% ownership, and Woodside's acknowledged LNG experience as operator of the
world-class North West Shelf Venture.
"These attributes are backed by Australia's stable political, legal and fiscal framework," Mr. Voelte
He said Woodside expected substantive progress on gas sales agreements by year end.
Capital expenditure is expected to involve several billion dollars and will be refined with front-end
engineering which is scheduled to begin in November. With a final investment decision planned for
mid-2007, LNG shipments could begin from late 2010.
Woodside has allocated more than A$65 million this year for development studies, marketing and an
accelerated field appraisal program including two wells by December.
Development options for the Pluto LNG Project include an offshore production platform, an offshore
trunkline, up to two LNG processing trains, loading jetty and associated infrastructure. Concept
selection and refinement of development options will be done concurrently with field appraisal work.
"The onshore plant will initially be supplied from the Pluto field but could also cater for other
Woodside regional gas," Mr. Voelte said.
"We have assessed several plant sites and the Western Australian Department of Industry and
Resources has reserved land for the Pluto development within the Burrup Industrial Estate near
Mr. Voelte said Pluto was being referred today for state and federal government environmental
review and an application for major project facilitation would also be lodged today with the Australian
Project staff would immediately begin discussions with community groups and traditional custodians
on Aboriginal heritage and environmental assessment, with particular emphasis on protecting rock
art and cultural values of the Burrup Peninsula.
Mr. Voelte said discussions had also been under way for some time with providers of LNG
technology and tenders were being prepared for the lead contractor for engineering, procurement
and construction management of the LNG plant.
The Pluto LNG Project will be led by Lucio Della Martina, a senior Woodside executive with more
than 20 years' international oil and gas experience covering operations, economics, planning, and
Mr. Della Martina and his team of engineers, marketers, commercial analysts, environmental
scientists, and reservoir specialists reports directly to the CEO.