Shareholder returns on the cards at Woodside

ACCORDING to Woodside chief executive Peter Coleman, the step-change in sales from shipping out LNG from the Pluto project could result in buybacks, but he played down suggestions Woodside was seeking to snap up Shell’s stake in the company.
Shareholder returns on the cards at Woodside Shareholder returns on the cards at Woodside Shareholder returns on the cards at Woodside Shareholder returns on the cards at Woodside Shareholder returns on the cards at Woodside

Speaking at an investor briefing in Perth on Monday, Coleman said Woodside would be looking at ways to generate earlier shareholder return, a bugbear of previous Woodside shareholders.

He said this was chief among its reasons for striking a $US2 billion deal with Japanese trading house MIMI over a 14.7% stake in the Browse project, although Coleman said the potential collaboration with MIMI on global opportunities was something he was "especially keen on".

However, the main bit of news out of the investor briefing was the revelation Woodside may move into a broad share buyback program.

Coleman said the exact timing of a buyback was dependant on the company's share price and whatever other investment opportunities were present in the marketplace.

Hesaid any such buyback program would not target Shell's 23.3% stake directly though, and Shell had not been in contact with Woodside over any such deal.

It is believed Woodside has been assisting Shell in trying to find a buyer for its stake, but Shell is thought to be holding out for a higher share price before exiting its investment.

Woodside will also be seeking international growth before considering a buyback program, with its investment in Cyprus evidence of its new growth strategy.

Earlier this month it entered into a partnership with Delek and Edison International to bid on a block offshore Cyprus, leading to speculation Woodside would be looking to start up another LNG project.

"Will LNG be the preferred development mode? It's pretty likely," he said at the APPEA 2012 conference in Adelaide.

"Cyprus has already identified a site where they would like to see LNG developed, so it's very likely."

First published in

  • NEW: Digital version of PNG Report magazine - View here
  • Porgera: Barrick-PNG talks go on - Read more
  • Follow the companies investing in the PNG market - Read more