Petroleum Giant's Fall
Woodside Petroleum announced a 66 per cent fall in first-half net profit, after writing down its 6.9 per cent stake in Oil Search. An interim net profit of the company is $197 million but when excluding the $92.6 million write-down of its Oil Search investment and last year's asset sale, Woodside's first-half profit fell 26.6 per cent, mostly because of lower sales revenues and petroleum resource rent tax payments of $72.5 million. First of all shares of Oil Search where the company picked up a 12 per cent stake fell 1c to 74c. Also lower oil prices cut Woodside's sales 17 per cent to $977 million while production fell 4 per cent. But Woodside took measures and will start additional production. Construction of the North West Shelf's fourth LNG train was on schedule for ending in mid 2004. Woodside, Shell and Osaka Gas have publicly stated their preference to build a floating liquefied natural gas (FLNG) operation and sell the gas. However, in July they agreed to revisit Phillips Petroleum's proposal to take the gas to Darwin and target the Australian domestic market. Woodside's shares fell 13c yesterday to close at $13.71.