Woodside plans major Pluto LNG turnaround next year

Australian LNG player Woodside is planning to shut its Pluto LNG terminal in the Pilbara region of Western Australia in the second quarter of 2023 for a major turnaround.

The turnaround would last about four weeks, Woodside said in a statement on Monday announcing its 2023 guidance.

Pluto LNG currently has one LNG train with a capacity of 4.9 mtpa but Woodside and US engineer Bechtel in August started building the second train with a similar capacity at the plant.

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

The project also includes new domestic gas facilities and modifications to the first Pluto LNG train.

Woodside is the operator and holds a 90 percent participating interest in the first Pluto LNG train. Japan’s Kansai Electric and Tokyo Gas each hold a 5 percent interest in the project.

The Australian company also sold a 49 percent non-operating stake in the second Pluto LNG train to US-based Global Infrastructure Partners.

Up to $6.5 billion

Woodside’s full-year 2023 capital expenditure guidance is $6-6.5 billion while production guidance is 180-190 million barrels of oil equivalent (MMboe).

The LNG producer said key factors influencing this production range include the Pluto LNG turnaround as well as Sangomar Field Development Phase 1 targeting first oil in late 2023 and Mad Dog Phase 2 undergoing commissioning with a start-up expected in mid-2023.

Woodside expects its LNG production to reach 83-85 MMboe and expects that about 20-25 percent of this produced LNG to be sold at prices linked to gas hub indices.

Hydrogen project and resignation

Besides the 2023 plans, Woodside also released two separate statements announcing the resignation of its executive VP Australian operations, Fiona Hick, and in its participation in a hydrogen project in New Zealand.

Hick decided to resign from Woodside to join Fortescue Metals Group, led by Andrew Forrest.

On the other hand, Meridian, with the support of Ngai Tahu, have selected Woodside as the preferred partner to move forward to the development stage of the proposed Southern Green Hydrogen (SGH) project.

Japan’s Mitsui & Co. is also in discussions to join the project and develop the potential market for ammonia offtake.

The proposed project is targeting to produce 500,000 tonnes per year of ammonia utilizing electrolysis from renewable power.

Subject to finalizing commercial arrangements, Meridian, Woodside, and Mitsui would work towards starting front-end engineering design for the project, Woodside said.

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