Home World Business Woodside eyes growth, slams govt policy

Woodside eyes growth, slams govt policy

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Energy giant Woodside Petroleum say it is keen to develop Australian resources in the longer term but has called on the government to review its policy towards the energy sector.

The oil and gas producer on Friday reaffirmed its target to increase production by 15 per cent by 2020, focusing on its existing operations and currently approved projects.

Woodside chief executive Peter Coleman and outgoing chairman Michael Chaney (right) are seen at the Woodside AGM. Woodside chief executive Peter Coleman and outgoing chairman Michael Chaney (right) are seen at the Woodside AGM. Photo: TREVOR COLLENS

Chief executive Peter Coleman said the company will prioritise near-term value growth, with a focus on developing or expanding existing projects.

He identified the company’s two biggest liquefied natural gas projects in Western Australia, and the exploration work planned in Africa and Myanmar.

“You will hear us talk a lot about Wheatstone, Senegal, Myanmar and Pluto,” told shareholders at the company’s annual general meeting in Perth.

“That’s not to detract from the other opportunities we are pursuing, but we see these as priorities for this year.”

Woodside said last month it is likely to meet its full-year production guidance despite bad weather hurting first-quarter production and sales.

The oil and gas giant’s output dropped nearly 10 per cent in the three months to March to 21.4 million barrels of oil equivalent, but it still expects to deliver the full-year production forecast of 84 mmboe to 90 mmboe.

Mr Coleman also confirmed the company’s longer term plan to build a pipeline from the Browse gas fields off the WA coast to the Karratha gas plant in the North West Shelf.

“As operator of both Browse and the North West Shelf, Woodside is well-placed to make this happen and we are talking to joint venture participants in both assets,” he said.

The company called on Canberra to ensure a fiscal regime for development of Australian resources and to avoid any policy changes that could deter investment.

Woodside chairman Michael Chaney flagged “several issues of concern” including the government’s impending review of the Petroleum Resource Rent Tax, recent changes to the 457 visa programme and delays in corporate tax cuts.

He said it will get much harder to attract highly skilled international employees to Australia if they are not confident of being able to stay beyond an initial two-year period, a result of the federal government changes to visas.

He particularly slammed the Labor and minor parties for opposing the government’s proposed cut in the corporate tax rate for all companies.

“It is very clear to anyone involved in business that having a corporate tax rate higher than that in other countries would result in Australia missing out on new investment,” Mr Chaney said, urging all political parties to ensure that the country’s international competitiveness does not suffer further.

AAP 

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