Groundbreaking floating LNG technology - making liquefied natural gas on board the biggest ships on earth - is a "natural evolution" for the oil and gas industry, says Woodside chief Peter Coleman.
Woodside's biggest shareholder, Royal Dutch Shell, is building the world's first floating LNG vessel to develop its Prelude field in the Browse Basin off Western Australia, and also wants to use the technology as an alternative to onshore processing of Browse gas at the James Price Point on the Kimberley coast.
Woodside recently presented its Browse joint-venture partners - including Shell - with costings for James Price Point.
Mr Coleman would not comment on the likely outcome at Browse but said floating LNG, in general, was a "technology of the future" and Woodside needed to develop its capability.
"Oil evolved from onshore plants to what today is industry-accepted practice for remote-location, small fields, FPSOs [floating production, storage and offloading vessels]. So in the oil world you already have an analog to go by. LNG is simply taking what was done in oil now and moving that into LNG."
Mr Coleman said the new ships would be six times heavier than the largest aircraft carrier at 600,000 tonnes and almost 500 metres.