Woodside extends shutdown of Pluto LNG plant until end of June because of technical issue

Tuesday, 11 June 2019
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Australian LNG plant operator Woodside said its Pluto LNG plant maintenance was completed as planned, though technical issues mean the single-Train facility would remain offline until the end of June.

The Pluto plant is on the Burrup Peninsula of Western Australia about 190 kilometres northwest of the port of Karratha.

The facility has 4.8 million tonnes per annum of output and is a lucrative business for Woodside and its foundation customers are the Japanese utilities Tokyo Gas and Kansai Electric.

“The mixed refrigerant compressor has experienced vibration on restart,” said Woodside.

“As a result, further activities extending the turnaround have commenced to achieve the restart of production,” added the company.

“Woodside has made arrangements to meet obligations to our customers, including the purchase of third-party cargoes,” stated the Perth-based company.

Woodside also operates the North West Shelf plant near Karratha and is a stakeholder in the Wheatstone facility, the third onshore plant in Western Australia operated by US major Chevron Corp.

In the first quarter of 2019, Pluto achieved output of 1.08MT, slightly lower than 1.10MT logged in the year-ago quarter and returned revenues of US$591M.

The Pluto cargoes were sold at an average price of US$10.0 per MMBtu compared with US$9.0 per MMBtu in the same quarter of 2018.

The plant has been on stream since 2012 and Woodside is planning an expansion that is expected to add 10 MTPA of output from two additional Trains.

Woodside has said that after its strong performance in 2018 and in early 2019 it was looking forward to sanctioning more than US$30 billion of new LNG projects.

The company’s Browse Basin offshore development will provide additional feed-gas for the NWS plant and would cost around $US20.5Bln, while the Scarborough gas field project, including the expansion of Pluto, would cost about $US11Bln.