Markets: Woodside falls offside

Oil and gas company Woodside says problems at a production platform and with a key vessel will curb production.

Woodside Petroleum shares dropped as much as 4.9 per cent today after Australia’s biggest liquid natural gas exporter said its 2013 production may fall as much as 9.6 per cent to 85 million barrels of oil equivalent (MMboe).

At 1439 AEST the stock had dropped $1.48, or 4.1 per cent, to $34.34, after falling as low as $34.05 after it told the ASX its production target for the 12 months to December 31 had been revised to 85 million MMboe to 89 MMboe from 88 MMboe to 94 MMboe.

Woodside’s spokeswoman told Markets Spectator the company will not be providing any figures as to how its revenue and net profit will be affected by the cut in production. In 2012 Woodside had record annual production of 84.9 MMboe, up 31 per cent from the previous year. The company’s operating revenue rose 32 per cent last year to $6.34 billion while net profit almost doubled to $2.98 billion.

The company said in its ASX statement that its Pluto production has been interrupted. The company expects it to begin again “shortly” but gave no time frame. The impact, Woodside says, is a loss of production this year of 2 million MMboe. Pluto is located in the Carnarvon Basin, about 190km northwest of the coastal town of Karratha in northwest Western Australia.

The refurbishment of the Vincent vessel, usually anchored off the northwest cape of Western Australia, will not be in operation until October 1. Vincent is a production storage and offloading ship. Its shutdown will cause a loss of 1 million MMboe in production this year.