Woodside CEO: LNG demand to rise 53 percent in next decade

Global demand for liquefied natural gas (LNG) is forecast to grow 53 percent in the coming decade between now and 2033, according to Woodside CEO Meg O’Neill.

“Much of this demand is expected to emerge from China and South East Asia, markets our assets are geographically advantaged to supply,” O’Neill said on Tuesday during Woodside’s 2023 results call.

The Perth-based LNG player, which is a top 10 global independent energy company by hydrocarbon production after the completion of the merger with BHP’s oil and gas business in 2022, reported 2023 net profit after tax (NPAT) of $1.66 billion, down 74 percent compared to 2022, due to lower prices.

On the other hand, Woodside achieved record full-year 2023 production of 187.2 MMboe (513 Mboe/day).

During 2023, Woodside continued to grow its LNG portfolio, including signing a 20-year offtake deal with Mexico Pacific.

O’Neill said during the call that this strengthens the company’s position as “a portfolio player, supplying our own LNG as well as third-party volumes to our customers.”

She said the fundamentals of long-term LNG demand “remain strong”.

In 2023, the majority of contracts signed in the global LNG market were for durations of 20 or more years.

“This long-term demand for LNG supports our conviction that gas will be a key part of the global energy mix for decades to come,” she said.

Woodside “happy” with current Scarborough equity position

The CEO noted that the sell-down of Scarborough to LNG Japan and Jera at full value “provides further evidence of Asian players looking to secure access to long-term LNG as they navigate the energy transition.”

Following completion of the sale of equity to Jera, Woodside will hold a 74.9 percent interest in the Scarborough JV and remain as operator.

In November 2021, Woodside took a final investment decision on the Scarborough and Pluto LNG Train 2 developments worth about $12 billion.

Pluto Train 2 will get gas from the Scarborough gas field, located about 375 km off the coast of Western Australia, through a new trunkline long about 430 km.

Asked about whether Woodside would look to sell more more in Scarborough, O’Neill said that “I’m feeling pretty happy with the equity position that we have today.”

“As Pluto was the crown jewel of Woodside for the 2010s and the first half of the 2020s, Scarborough will be our crown jewel for the upcoming 20 years, starting in 2026,” she said.

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