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Australia's Woodside Expects Long-term Gain from Energy Security Fears

April 26, 2022

Rendering of the Scarborough FPU - Source Woodside
Rendering of the Scarborough FPU - Source Woodside

Australia's Woodside Petroleum reported a more than twofold jump in quarterly revenue on Tuesday, buoyed by rising oil and gas prices, and it expects to benefit in the longer term from energy security fears due to Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

Tight supply drove prices of liquefied natural gas (LNG) to record highs last year before Russia, a top exporter of oil and gas, invaded Ukraine in what Moscow calls a "special military operation", sparking sanctions which have further hit supply.

"We expect in the second quarter to see the continued benefit of stronger pricing, reflecting the oil price lag in many of our LNG contracts," Woodside Chief Executive Officer Meg O'Neill said in a statement.

The Ukraine conflict has unnerved LNG buyers in Europe and Asia, putting producers like Woodside in Australia in a strong position to negotiate longer-term sales deals at higher prices than envisioned when the coronavirus hammered demand two years ago, she said.

"Since the invasion, we are seeing more interest," O'Neill told Reuters in an interview.

Woodside is also attracting more potential bidders for a stake it wants to sell in its Scarborough gas project off Western Australia.

"I think we are seeing many customers who realize the importance of stable and secure energy supply from a nation like Australia. So we are seeing good interest in the Scarborough sell down as well as Scarborough LNG equity offtake," O'Neill said.

O'Neill said she was confident shareholders would back Woodside's merger with the petroleum arm of BHP Group BHP.AX on May 19, which will double the company's output and give it a foothold in the Gulf of Mexico, more exposure to oil and a stronger balance sheet.

In the March quarter, Woodside's sales revenue came in at $2.36 billion, up from $1.12 billion a year earlier, as its realized price more than doubled on a year earlier. However, the result was softer than analysts at RBC and UBS expected.

Woodside's shares fell 5.1%, a bigger fall than the broader energy index which was down due to a drop in oil prices.

(Reporting by Sonali Paul in Melbourne; Additional reporting by Sameer Manekar in Bengaluru; Editing by Aditya Soni, Robert Birsel)



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