Australia's Woodside sees first half profit surge

Entrance to Pluto LNG complex Image copyright AFP
Image caption Woodside operates six out of seven LNG facilities in Australia

Australia's Woodside Petroleum has seen a 27% jump in first half profit, mainly driven by higher prices for its key product - liquefied natural gas (LNG).

For the six months to June, net profit jumped to a record $1.1bn (£660m) from $873m one year ago.

Revenue rose by 24% to a record $3.5bn, due to higher sales volumes.

The company also benefitted from a new pricing regime at its Pluto LNG project off the Western Australian coast.

The price for LNG from Woodside's Pluto facility increased by 36%, and this rise was reflected in its customer contracts during the six months to June.

Woodside - Australia's biggest oil and gas producer - operates six out of the seven LNG "processing trains"- also known as purification facilities, that are available in Australia.

In a statement released with the earnings, chief executive Peter Coleman said: "Our record production is a testament to our assets' ongoing reliability.

Our half-year profit was up 27 per cent on the same period as last year, reflecting our record production, higher realised prices and increased sales volumes."

The company did not offer any guidance for the rest of the year. But it did reaffirm its recently raised production target of 89 to 94 million barrels of oil equivalent (mmboe).

Mr Coleman said the firm's international exploration strategy was also taking shape, with new acreage in Myanmar as well as entries into Morocco, Tanzania and Gabon.

Woodside's international portfolio includes interests in Ireland, New Zealand, Canada and Timor-Leste.

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